Thoughts and pictures of my local minor league baseball team the New York Penn League Connecticut Tigers; a Detriot farm team. We'll still be looking at former Navigators/Defenders players along the way....

Thursday, February 14, 2008

In today's New London Day.....

Renovations At Dodd To Be Done By Opening Day Controversial Parking Fee Decision Still Looms

Norwich — The Thomas J. Dodd Memorial Stadium is expected to open on schedule April 3 for opening day of the Connecticut Defenders 2008 minor league baseball season after a frantic month of renovations in March.
Whether fans will be paying $2 to park or paying more for a ticket is still undecided.

Defenders General Manager Charlie Dowd asked the Baseball Stadium Authority Wednesday for public assurances that repairs to the failing sprinkler system would be done on time, citing several phone calls he has received from concerned fans that the stadium would not open.

Fire officials determined last September that the sprinkler system did not have sufficient water pressure to meet state fire suppression regulations. Deputy Fire Marshal James Roberts issued an order and a warning that the system be repaired before opening day or he would not allow the stadium to be occupied.

After working with sprinkler system engineers throughout the fall and winter, the authority received approval from the City Council Feb. 4 to forgo the normal competitive bidding process and spend up to $46,290 to hire Liberty Mechanical Inc. of Waterford, the firm that services the sprinkler system, to correct the problems. The firm will split the system into three segments to ensure that high-pressure water reaches all points.

Stadium Authority member Gary Schnip, who oversees stadium operations, said Wednesday that the company has ordered parts for the job. But the authority is still waiting for the city finance office to issue a purchase order for the work, Schnip said. The work is expected to take about five weeks but should be done by the end of March, Schnip said.

The authority also is waiting for a city purchase order for the work approved last year to renovate public bathrooms at the stadium — long a source of fan complaints. That work cannot take place until spring, and likely will run through the first month of the season.

Dowd said that should be OK, as the stadium could keep open one set of bathrooms for men and one for women while closing other facilities. Crowds in April typically are light after opening day, and the team is playing on the road from April 10 to 16 and again from April 24 to 28.

Dowd also told the authority that team officials have not made any decisions on whether to charge for parking for Defenders games this year. Ticket prices and advertising rates have remained the same for the past three years, and concession stand prices were dropped last year. Dowd said the team is considering charging $2 per vehicle for parking.

Authority members, however, were not enamored with the idea. Chairman Michael Jewell said he was concerned about potential traffic jams that plagued busy nights in the early years when parking fees were collected at the gates. He also feared that the stadium might need additional police to direct traffic — a cost the city bears under the lease.

Authority member Harry Jackson suggested the team consider adding $1 to the price of a general admission ticket this year to raise the needed revenue. Jackson speculated that fans would accept that fee more readily than a new parking charge.

Dowd said the team would consider the suggestion but said charging nominal fees for parking is so widely prevalent in sports and entertainment that Dodd Stadium is the rare sports venue that doesn't charge a parking fee.

c.bessette@theday.com


Norwich

4 Comments:

Blogger KRB said...

$2 is cheap. Are they concerned about less attendance if they charge for parking. Grizzlies game is $5 and San Jose is $5 and just about any sporting event or concert.

10:43 PM

 
Blogger thehondohurricane said...

Does 46K for sprinkler system plus whatever the cost to repair the rest areas equal justification for not spending 60 K to move the fences? Putting the lease terms aside for a moment, after spending this kind of dough, how ticked off is the city going to be if Lou announces he's bailing out ASAP?

Seems like the parking issue is further dividing the team and the city. Don't see how it will cost the city. I can't ever recall a cop directing traffic when I arrived, but I can recall no police presence after the game on more then one occasion.

Flogging the same dead horse, Day again scoops Bulletin. Did the Bulletin maybe cover this in the newspaper, but leave it off their WEB?

3:57 AM

 
Blogger LC said...

If you can't afford the extra two bucks to park your car you have bigger fish that need to be fried.

6:01 AM

 
Blogger Doctor said...

There's something all of you should know - you're already paying for parking. It wasn't eliminated years ago; it was folded in to ticket prices. It was critical to do so because the congestion was unbearable, even on slow nights. That will return and it will drive people away. The team can not leave before 2012 or the buyout option in 2009. Keep an eye on Richmond. The Braves are leaving after 2008.

1:28 PM

 

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