Local News

Durham celebrates movie anniversary, stadium restoration

Posted April 30, 2008 3:38 p.m. EDT
Updated April 30, 2008 5:35 p.m. EDT

— Durham on Wednesday celebrated the 20th anniversary of the film "Bull Durham" and broke ground on a $5 million restoration of the ballpark where the movie was filmed.

"Bull Durham" was shot on location at the Durham Athletic Park and released in 1988.

The city honored the film’s writer/director Ron Shelton and producer and Durham native Thom Mount at a luncheon at Duke University's Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“I came back to Durham because I love this ball park. I love this ball park because it was also connected to the downtown and to the residential areas…the only place like in the old days where you could walk to the game,” Shelton said.

The stars of the film – Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins – were also honored but didn't attend the event.

To continue the celebration, on Saturday the Durham County Library will host a free screening of the R-rated film at 2 p.m.

Also on Wednesday, Durham celebrated the start of a $5 million restoration project at the Durham Athletic Park.

The athletic park has been in the community since the early 1900s. The restoration will include an upgrade to the infrastructure, restrooms, concessions and seating. Picnic areas and concourses that reflect the historic quality of the ballpark will be added. A state-of-the-art playing field will also be installed and maintained by minor league baseball professionals.

The project is expected to be completed in December.

In addition to the restoration, a National Minor League Baseball Museum next to the stadium is also planned.

The Durham Athletic Park was home to the Durham Bulls minor league baseball team from 1926 to 1994. The park has been used as a community venue for local baseball and softball leagues since 1995. It has also been used as the home field for the North Carolina School of Arts. Starting in the 2009 season, North Carolina Central University will make the ballpark its home field.