JOLIET – The city-owned baseball stadium in the future will be named Joliet Route 66 stadium, city officials said Friday.
The unveiling of the new name along with an artist's image of what it will look like happened Friday at the Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference being held in Joliet.
"This is international branding," Joliet Economic Development Director Steve Jones told the conference, noting the appeal that Route 66 has for tourists in other countries. "We really look forward to implementing this."
The actual name change, including the installation of new signage at the front gate, may not occur for another year depending on what it costs, Jones said later.
The idea is to light up the front gate of the stadium with images of a Route 66 highway sign, a classic convertible sports car, and the words "Joliet Stadium." The front end chassis parts of 12 classic cars would be installed in the in the two towers – six in each tower – at the front gate of the stadium.
Jones said there is no timetable yet for implementing the new concept, and it will not necessarily be ready for the start of the Slammers baseball season in May.
The new name does not come with a sponsor, meaning the city and Slammers are still looking for a naming-rights partner at the stadium.
"It doesn't stop that," Joliet Economic Development Director Steve Jones said. "We're not closing the door on naming rights. But the identity is Joliet, and it's Route 66."
Conceptually, a naming rights sponsor could be added to the name of the stadium, he said.
But the Slammers have not been able to find a naming-rights sponsor since the team started looking more than a year ago, when Silver Cross Hospital decided not to renew its partnership.
The Silver Cross Field sign still is on the front gate as it has been since the stadium opened in 2002. The Slammers said they would not take it down until they found a new naming-rights sponsor, although the team has been referring to the park as Slammers Stadium since the Silver Cross agreement expired at the end of 2016.
Jones said the city would be in no hurry to remove the Silver Cross Field name until it is ready to install the new signage, which could be next fall.
"Economically, it makes sense to do it all at once," he said. "Then, you're not paying for cranes twice."
The entire front entrance, including the addition of car chassis front-ends to the towers, may be done in three phases depending on how much it costs and the availability of funding, Jones said.