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Minor League Ballpark to Slowly Phase In Upgrades

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Copyright 2017 Paddock Publications, Inc.

Chicago Daily Herald

 

While significant upgrades to the 18-year-old Schaumburg Boomers Stadium are planned, the work won't be crammed into one or even a few offseasons, officials said.

A consultant this month recommended nearly $13 million in improvements to the stadium to keep it competitive with the new Rosemont ballpark being built for the 2018 debut of the Chicago Dogs baseball team. But officials from the village of Schaumburg and Schaumburg Park District, which co-own the stadium, said the implementation of upgrades will be phased over several years.

"We're definitely looking at 5 to 7 years, if not more," Schaumburg Village Manager Brian Townsend said. Though the stadium is nearing the end of its second decade, its initial $17 million investment made it one of the handsomest facilities in independent league baseball, according to many inside and outside observers. That's why a total gutting of the existing facility is far from what consultants are recommending, Townsend said.

Tony LaFrenere, executive director of the Schaumburg Park District, said his agency regards the project the same way it would any district facility that could use some improvements after nearly 20 years. The recent consultant report from Indiana-based Jones Petrie Rafinski merely provided a third-party perspective on improvements the park district would have expected to be needed at this time, LaFrenere added.

While increased competition from Rosemont is acknowledged, the focus at Boomers Stadium will continue to be annual improvements to the fan experience, of which the facility is but one aspect, Townsend said. LaFrenere said village and park district leaders have always been largely on the same page when it comes to prioritizing work at the stadium.

One way the two local governments differ, however, is in the source of their funds. The village's funding for the stadium capital improvements come from more diverse tax sources, but the property tax won't be in the mix, Townsend said. The park district's funds come almost equally from property taxes and program user fees, LaFrenere said. Both support the capital improvement fund, from which upgrades to its half-ownership of the stadium will be paid.

The ballpark's tenant is the Schaumburg Boomers baseball team, whose rent payments are a source of revenue for the village and park district. Townsend and LaFrenere said an implementation plan for upgrades to the stadium is expected to be presented to the village and park district boards in November.

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August 29, 2017
 
 

 

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