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Stadium Renovations Could Make Empty Seats a Memory

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ZEBULON — For eight years, the Carolina Mudcats have been playing ball at Five County Stadium. And for eight years, fans have been watching the game while sitting on aluminum bleachers. But not for much longer. The team is finally gearing up to build its field of dreams.

It's one of the Staton family's favorite pastimes-- watching the Carolina Mudcats. To them, a night at the ballpark is "good family fun."

Little Kyle Staton enjoys watching the players make homeruns. Next year Kyle and other Mudcats fans won't have to sit on bleachers. Construction is due to start this fall on the long overdue $5.75 million dollar renovation of Five County Stadium.

Team officials say it will be a concrete facility, complete with box seats and skyboxes, but it will still have that home town feel.

"That's the lure, I think, of minor league baseball," explains Mudcats' General Manger Joe Kremer. "You feel more a part of the game. You're right there on top of it."

The new ballpark will also have new concession stands built right in, so fans will never be far from the action. The renovation couldn't happen soon enough. The project was delayed for a year because the first design was too expensive.

Mudcats attendance has dropped off from an average of 4,500 spectators five years ago to about 3,100 this year. Fans say a new stadium should help that.

The team will open up bids to contractors for the renovation next Tuesday. The renovation is due to get started after the team's last home game in September. Team officials it will be ready for next season, which starts in April of 1999.

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Laurie Clowers, Reporter
John Cox, Photographer
Kerrie Hudzinski, Web Editor

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