Improvements to Grainger Stadium, set to host a new Carolina League team owned by the Texas Rangers in 2017, were mostly pushed back to 2018 due to a lack of acceptable bids and delays caused by Hurricane Matthew.
The ballpark will host the Down East Wood Ducks, one of two new High-A Carolina League teams added for 2017 after the contraction of two High-A California League teams at the end of the 2016 season.
The City of Kinston had solicited bids for several ballpark improvements, including a new visitors clubhouse, the conversion of the old visitors clubhouse to a weight room, a new concession stand, and a renovation of the home clubhouse. But only one bid for this work came in, and that bid was over budget. That lack of response, combined with damage in the region caused by Hurricane Matthew (damage that is keeping local contractors very busy), led the Kinston City Council to scale the work back to a new concession stand, with the larger bits of work pushed back to after the 2017 season. From Kinston.com:
Because of the flood we’re not doing as much work,” Lenoir County Parks and Recreation Director Bill Ellis said. “The only this we are bidding out is the concession stand.”
Ellis said some of the smaller projects in the locker rooms will be completed “in house,” but they will not be building the visitors’ club house or maintenance shop.
Wade Howell, Down East Wood Ducks general manager, said the team understands there is more important work to be done.
“We have scaled back and are planning to complete more of the necessary projects,” Howell said.
Grainger Stadium was the long-time home of the Kinston Indians (High A; Carolina League). For a look at that ballpark’s history, check out Cradle of the Game, Mark Cryan’s history of baseball and ballparks in North Carolina.
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