The Norwich City Council has approved a bond ordinance to cover upgrades to Dodd Stadium, home of the Connecticut Tigers (Short Season A; NY-Penn League).
In a 6-0 vote on Monday night, the council signed off on an $800,000 bond ordinance that will be used to cover future upgrades to Dodd Stadium. The slate of changes cover a wide array of projects, including the installation of LED lighting, replacement of the heating and cooling ventilation systems in both clubhouses, and perhaps extended netting.
Through these projects, Dodd Stadium will receive repairs that address outdated areas of the facility. More from The Day:
The lighting and ventilation systems are original to the 25-year-old stadium, and the lights no longer meet requirements of Major League Baseball for teams that are minor league affiliates of Major League teams. The Connecticut Tigers are the Class A team of the Detroit Tigers.
Baseball Stadium Authority Chairman Michael Jewell called Dodd Stadium a “unique asset” in the city, with specific requirements unlike many other buildings.
“You can’t just go up there and hang some lights,” Jewell said. “You have to be in compliance with Major League Baseball. If we’re not in compliance, we’re not going to have baseball up there. It’s that simple.”
Jewell reminded the council of the “extraordinary” effort it took to build the stadium and bring minor league baseball to Norwich.
Perhaps more significantly, the upgrades could make the ballpark more viable for the Tigers as they approach the expiration of their current lease. The team’s Dodd Stadium lease runs through the 2019 season, though it includes two five-year options and officials could pursue a new lease agreement with the team.
Dodd Stadium originally opened in 1995 for the Norwich Navigators (Class AA; Eastern League), a team that would later rebrand as the Connecticut Defenders before relocating to Richmond, VA prior to the 2010 season. The Oneonta Tigers then moved to Norwich and Dodd Stadium, where they have played as the Connecticut Tigers since 2010.