A $16 million upgrade will cover wider concourses and more upper-deck seating — but still no word on when the facility will be finished.
Yesterday’s press conference to announce the new name of the Winston-Salem Dash (High Class A; Carolina League) seemed to raise more questions than it answered, as owner Billy Prim confirmed ballpark delays — but didn’t have a clear plan for the 2009 season.
First, it does clarify exactly what’s happening with the ballpark. The original $22.5 million ballpark is being expanded to a $38 million facility with the addition of more upper-deck seating, wider concourses and a new kids’ play area. Adding wider concourses at this stage of construction isn’t a trivial matter, and judging by the renderings (one is below) of the original design, this means the upper deck will be expanded as well. With the team committed to paying for the ballpark enhancements, financing will surely be an issue as well.
Add the expansion plans to the slowdown in work on the ballpark in recent months, and you can see why an April 2009 opening is in doubt and why Dash officials are looking at alternative plans for the beginning of the season.
Intertwined in all of this: it’s being reported Billy Prim is buying out partner Andrew "Flip" Filipowski to gain sole ownership of the team. Whether this is the end of changes in the owners’ suite remains to be seen: Mandalay Baseball Properties, which has a deal to manage the team, also reportedly has an option to buy up to 50 percent of the franchise.
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