Column: Access to Johnson Park will be limited this season

When fans start coming to high school baseball games in about a month at Johnson Park, they are going to find out that they are going to have to make some adjustments from their habit of parking on German Street and coming to the park.

And access to teams coming to New Ulm from the north on Highway 15 will see detours to the park. Also access to Johnson Park will be limited to pedestrian traffic as North German Street will be undergoing a facelift from 7th North to 3rd North.

“They will not be able to park on German Street during the construction,” New Ulm Park and Rec Director Tom Schmitz said. “They will have to park on Minnesota Street or a side street.”

That construction will also mean that more baseball games will be played at Mueller Park for Minnesota Valley Lutheran and New Ulm Cathedral with New Ulm High School playing on its own facility.

“The preliminary plan is for more games at Mueller Park,” Schmitz said. “We will take into consideration the construction schedules and the need to play more games there.”

That also may mean more Junior Classic and Upper Midwest Classic games this summer at Mueller Park.

Johnson Park will be accessible for service vehicles only on the road behind Johnson Park which runs by the Community Center and will allow access to that facility.

That is located behind left field at Johnson Park.

Schmitz said that the plan is to have the German Street construction project done in 2018.

While the street construction can be done in 2018, the RENU construction to Johnson Park is scheduled to begin late this year and be worked on through. 2019.

Schmitz said that there is a possibility that there may be no baseball games at all played at Johnson Park in 2019.

“We will be creating a wide central concourse between the upper and lower seating area that wil run from first base to third base,” Schmitz said. “There will also be a new concession stand which will be built on top of the maintenance building that was constructed last year.”

The new concession stand will be located down the first base line.

And Mueller Park will also see its share of a facelift late or after the season is over in August.

“That will not affect any games there,” Schmitz said. “We will be putting a fabric shade structure over the grandstand. We are also going to complete the left field bullpen and upgrade the right field bullpen.”

Schmitz also said that they are looking into a walking path from the Mueller Park to Johnson Park.

“There may be one or two different ways for people to walk from Mueller Park to and from Johnson Park in 2018. It is going to be a busy five years for us because of RENU,” Schmitz said.

This is all in preparation for the 2020 Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament that will be held at both Johnson and Mueller Parks.