A new Rochester Red Wings (Class AAA; International League) lease will not only keep the team in town, but it may lead to long-awaited renovations for Frontier Field.
The $13-million plan was first devised in 2014 and called both for needed ballpark maintenance and new features that would include more group areas, a museum, new field, renovated concourse and suites, and new entrance to the ballpark.
That 2014 effort at a renovation plan was put on hold, even with the state contributing $1.5 million toward the project. After the Red Wings and Monroe County came to an agreement on a new 10-year lease, talks of ballpark renovations are back on the table. From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:
“All of the projects we have talked about are still on the table,” said Naomi Silver, Red Wings president and CEO.
The state grant is for reimbursement, requiring Monroe County as the stadium owner to first invest $4.8 million. So far, the county has spent $2.8 million, on things like lighting, safety netting, steel restoration and a new pedestrian bridge. A contract for painting the 22-year-old stadium currently is out to bid. And the county plans to go back to the state this summer, seeking additional funds.
Silver’s full project list totals in the neighborhood of $13 million, based on 2014-15 estimates. That list divides almost evenly between maintenance and upkeep, and new or improved amenities — also including a outfield perimeter pedestrian loop, new seats, a field replacement, a clubhouse renovation, installing a new pavilion for right center field, improvements along the stadium’s Plymouth Avenue side, and adding a batting tunnel.
“A lot of work does need to be done at the stadium. It is a little bit more than cosmetic,” Silver said. “But the stadium is not structurally unsound. It is sound. It’s just that work has to be done in order to remain so.”
Renderings courtesy of the Rochester Red Wings.