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Durham Athletic Park delays worry Minor League Baseball

Posted January 12, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Minor League Baseball says it believes it has lost at least $200,000 in revenues because of delays in renovating the Durham Athletic Park, which the Bull City owns.

That's according to a status report Durham city leaders released Monday. It also states that the organization believes the delays have affected the enthusiasm and support for the $5 million project and is concerned that others may think baseball helped cause the delays.

Minor League Baseball concerned about quality, delays on DBAP Minor League Baseball concerned about quality, delays on DBAP

Minor League President Pat O'Conner's also expressed "serious concerns" with the quality of work, saying the "project is falling short of everyone's goals and expectations."

Field construction on the stadium had been expected to be completed by the end of 2008 and other work completed by March.

In the report, city leaders say the delays are mostly due to weather and change orders for "unforeseen conditions." According to the report, higher-than-average rainfall from August to October meant delaying sod installation until the end of February.

City Manager Thomas Bonfield will meet with O'Conner Wednesday to talk about the concerns.

"The bottom line is that we are on the same page when it comes to doing the construction as originally planned and making sure that it is the highest quality," Durham city spokeswoman Beverly Thompson said.

"We want to make sure that we listen to them and that they listen to us and that we are on the same page and that we want this to work for both parties. It's a win-win."

When asked Monday if the stadium's delays could jeopardize the project or other potential plans, such as a national Minor League Baseball museum next to the stadium, O'Conner said he did not want to make specific comments until after Wednesday's meeting.

He said he is only concerned now about getting the park finished.

The Durham Athletic Park, which has been in the community since the early 1900s, was home to the Durham Bulls from 1926 to 1994.

The ball park gained national prominence when it was the backdrop of the 1988 Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon film "Bull Durham."

Since the Durham Bulls moved to the 10,000-seat Durham Bulls Athletic Park in 1995, the Durham Athletic Park has been used as a community venue for local baseball and softball leagues.

The restoration of the Durham Athletic Park, long known as the DAP, is expected to include a state-of-the-art playing field, as well as an upgrade to the infrastructure, restrooms, concessions and seating.

When the project is complete, the DAP is expected to serve as a grounds-keeping training facility that Minor League Baseball will operate and maintain. North Carolina Central University's baseball team will also use the facility for home games.

Durham city leaders hope the renovated park will help spur economic development in and around the area.

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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jan 13, 2009

    If Minor League Baseball wants all of the renovations to the old Durham Baseball stadium, they should pay for them instead of relying on the taxpayers. What a waste of tax money.

  • commonsensical Jan 12, 2009

    Perhaps 'minor league baseball' should just go ahead and pick up the tab for the remodeling. Put up or shut up.

  • ncmickey Jan 12, 2009

    "Perhaps they can't get people to work all day 'cause they have to make sure that they wrap up the day's work and get out of Durham before the muggings begin. That normally starts every day at sundown. When the time changes back, they can work for an hour more per day."

    You have no idea what you are talking about. Sounds like you need a few weeks at a mental hospital......

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jan 12, 2009

    Another waste of taxpayer money.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jan 12, 2009

    "OR, LIKE THE ARTICLE SAYS, the delays have been due bad weather and unforeseen circumstances..."

    I saw that when I read the article. But I still believe that's a front to cover up the true problem.

  • withnailharrison Jan 12, 2009

    OR, LIKE THE ARTICLE SAYS, the delays have been due bad weather and unforeseen circumstances (pretty common in renovation work.) Last time I checked, Durham doesn't have a weather control computer.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jan 12, 2009

    Well, Duh?!@ They are dealing with Mayor Bell and the city of Durham. That's expected!