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Amarillo decision: Build new or renovate existing ballpark

Amarillo SoxWith little movement on a new downtown ballpark and Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium in desperate need of repair, Amarillo Sox (independent; American Association) officials are exploring renovation plans — just in case.

Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium — the former Amarillo Dilla Villa and Potter County Stadium — is the second-oldest ballpark in the American Association (Wichita’s Lawrence-Dumont Stadium is older, but it’s been renovated over the years), and arguably the one in the worst shape. So if a new ballpark isn’t on the horizon, owner Scott Berry needs to have a game plan in place to address the many deficiencies in the 1957 facility.

Berry envisions two scenarios. The first: a modest $5 million overhaul that includes lead-paint abatement and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations. The second: an extensive renovation costing between $20 million and $25 million that adds new concessions, new light and seating, as well as expanded clubhouses and a field overhaul.

Of course, it’s early in any talk about renovations. Politics will be at play here: Amarillo would pay for a new downtown ballpark, but Potter County would be backing any renovations. Of course, Potter County officials love the idea of a new downtown ballpark.

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