More than a year after an arsonist set fire to Waseca's historic baseball field, the southern Minnesota town is getting to work building a new version of Tink Larson Field.
The ballfield has been a gathering place for the town since 1939, so it left a big hole when the fire burned down the grandstands just before the 2016 season.
On Wednesday the president of the Twins, Dave St. Peter, joined the field's 75-year-old namesake in Waseca to celebrate the start of construction.
The Twins were a six-figure donor to the fund that raised the $1.8 million for New Tink Larson Field, but there were smaller contributions from hundreds of people and businesses.
In a part of the state where amateur baseball is a big deal, Waseca fans have spent the last two summers watching the games from temporary metal bleachers.
But in 2018 they'll be in a deluxe new grandstand with 200 seats that also features a press box, a welcome plaza, and a concession stand.
The original plan was to start the work last fall, but cleanup from major flooding that hit the town in September became the priority instead.
The field is named after the man who saved it back in 1971. Waseca was planning to demolish it when Tink Larson, who was coaching the high school team, launched a campaign to refurbish it instead of getting rid of it, the city says.
For the next 40-plus years Larson tended to the field, doing much of the maintenance himself, and coaching generations of high school and amateur players. The field was named after him in 1994, the Mankato Free Press says.
"Many fans and former players have expressed to me their love and memories of the field and their sorrow at the loss of the grandstand due to a fire," Larson says on the fundraising site.
On the one-year anniversary of the fire in April Waseca police renewed their arson investigation. There's still a $10,000 reward for information that leads to charges in the case.