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Here are the changes that could be coming to Principal Park

The renovations would bring the third-oldest AAA baseball stadium in the country up to Major League Baseball standards.

DES MOINES, Iowa — An iconic Des Moines attraction is getting a bit of a makeover. Principal Park, home of the Iowa Cubs, may have some significant renovations coming in the near future. 

The new standards come from an agreement the Iowa Cubs signed with the Chicago Cubs back in January. In order to remain an affiliate of the team, Principal Park needs to hit certain standards. 

Most of that has to do with accommodating more staff members. When Sam Bernabe, President and General Manager of the Iowa Cubs, joined the team in 1983, he only had three staff members.

"Now I have a manager, I have a pitching coach, I have an assistant pitching coach, I have a hitting coach, I have another hitting coach. I've got two trainers, I got weight guys, I've got a nutritionist. I've got all kinds of personnel," Bernabe said.

Now, the third-oldest AAA baseball stadium is getting some improvements. 

Des Moines Parks and Recreation presented their plan to city council at a work session Monday morning. Many of the changes are relatively simple: a new entrance gate, more parking and updates to the player's clubhouse. But there are some more dramatic additions such as a playground and a large-screen TV outside the main park. 

"Beyond just the building and the stadium and the parking that serves the Cubs, we're looking at it as a destination for all, and no matter if there's a game going on or not. This is a place to be," said Jenny Richmond, Assistant Director of Parks & Recreation in Des Moines.

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With so many changes coming down the pipeline, it might be easy to over-sell. But Richmond and Bernabe are both confident that fans will notice the difference.

"It's a very special location, both for current times and from a historic standpoint, to still involving all of the surrounding areas is a big priority for us, Richmond said.

"This will be as big as when we first built the stadium in 1991, or opening day '92. It's not just giving the building a hug. It's a major change, in a lot of respects," Bernabe added.

The work session was just about getting the ball rolling on the updates that will keep Principal Park Major League Baseball compliant. That's phase one of the project. The more dramatic changes, like that big-screen TV, will be addressed in future phases of the project.

If funding is secured, construction on phase one is set to begin during the offseason next year.

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