Capital Credit Union Park open for business
By Rich Palzewic
ASHWAUBENON – Capital Credit Union Park isn’t currently hosting many sporting events, but it’s still open for business.
The first-year park, located at 2231 Holmgren Way in Ashwaubenon, hosted 36 Booyah and 10 Voyageurs games earlier this year.
“We’ve got a nice schedule coming up in the facility,” said Booyah vice president John Fanta. “We have CrossFit, rugby, a craft beer fest, company functions, a pro wrestling event, tailgate parties prior to Packers games, movie nights, wedding receptions and Christmas parties. We’ve been doing lots of functions after the season ended – we have space.”
Between Booyah baseball, Voyageurs soccer and special events, the $14 million venue will host close to 100 events this year.
The Booyah moved into the stadium after spending its entire history before the move at Joannes Stadium on the east side of town.
“It definitely is supposed to be a multi-purpose events center,” Fanta said. “I think we’re looking at the space to be utilized as much as possible throughout the entire year. Next year, I think 150 is realistic. We want to be more of a special-events destination, hoping to hold a concert or two in the venue at some point.”
The facility has an executive chef on board, so it’s able to host various functions throughout the year.
“Everybody was mind-blown when they walked into the stadium,” said Fanta. “Joannes is a historical park, but with all the new amenities we have at Capital Credit Union Park – seating proximity to the field, the club space and the suites – it was positively received.”
Like any new venue, Fanta said there are things the organization will work to improve.
“We have our planning meetings for next year coming up,” he said. “We won’t sit still – we’ll move forward. Most of everything we want to work on deals with making the fan experience more enjoyable. We are always looking for fan feedback. With a year under our belts, we know better what to expect in the future.”
The Booyah play in the collegiate Northwoods League and had a 33-39 record, but missed the playoffs.
“We had over 60,000 fans walk through the gates this season,” Fanta said. “We ranked seventh of the 22 teams in league attendance. Attendance increased 39 percent from a season ago at Joannes.”
Fanta said no official decision has been made in regards to bringing back first-year field manager Tom Carty, but it seems both parties are interested in making that happen.
“We won six more games this season as compared to last year,” said Fanta. “We liked everything Tom Carty did for us, so all signs point to him coming back. Tom thinks this is the best facility in the league – this will help recruit some of the best players in the country. Tom got the most out of the players he could. If he comes back next year, we will have an entire offseason to build.”
A new facility will most likely see higher attendance numbers during its first year, but Fanta believes the novelty will continue for years.
“Even with the last game – I sat in the ticket office, we were pretty swamped – we were asking folks if it was their first time to the park,” Fanta said. “I’d guess 50 or 60 percent of the people were first-timers. During the last 10 games, we noticed a spike in attendance.”
The Ashwaubenon High School baseball team, which plays its home games at Ashwaubomay Park in the spring, will travel to the venue next year for a handful of games, including an April 7 game against De Pere.
“With the finicky spring weather, quite a few high school fields are tough to play on,” Fanta added. “We don’t have to worry about field conditions with our turf.”