Durham, N.C. — The old Durham Athletic Park gained national prominence with the movie “Bull Durham,” but then fell into disrepair. On Tuesday, the old stadium got some new attention.
Even with its fading colors and peeling paint, the Durham Athletic Park is still a symbol of Americana.
“The DAP to me, and a lot of folks, is what minor league baseball was in its heyday,” groundskeeper Bill Miller said.
“Bull Durham” was shot at the location 20 years ago. Since then, the stadium has languished, losing much of its luster when the Bulls moved to their new facility more than a decade ago.
On Tuesday, construction began on a $5 million facelift for the park. Work starts with fencing and erosion control around the property.
Crews will repair the grandstand, install new bathrooms and clubhouses under the grandstand, renovate the concession stands, dugouts and broadcast booth and build a new maintenance building, picnic area and sand-based athletic field.
Field construction is scheduled to be done by the end of the year, with other work wrapping up by next March.
When it's finished, the old park will be a new training ground for minor league baseball. People will come to Durham to learn how to take care of fields and how to "flip" them from festivals to ballgames.
The former home of the Durham Bulls is also getting a new state-of-the-art field and will be home to North Carolina Central University’s baseball team in 2009.
In addition to the restoration, a National Minor League Baseball Museum next to the stadium is planned.