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Bills Could Fund Dodd Stadium Upgrades

Connecticut Tigers

State lawmakers have introduced two bills to help fund Dodd Stadium upgrades, which comes as Norwich officials pursue a lease extension with the Connecticut Tigers (Short Season A; NY-Penn League). 

The Tigers are playing at Dodd Stadium on a 10-year lease that expires after this season, but have been in discussion with Norwich officials about an extension that would include ballpark upgrades. There is currently not a dedicated capital improvements fund for the facility, though a pair of proposals filed by state legislators could provide revenue sources for future work at the ballpark.

One bill would give Dodd Stadium an exemption on a 10-percent state admissions tax, effectively diverting that revenue into an account that would be dedicated to covering future ballpark improvements. Another bill, meanwhile, would provide the city with a $500,000 state bond dedicated to several repairs at Dodd Stadium. More from The Day:

State Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, and state Reps. Kevin Ryan, D-Montville, Emmett Riley, D-Norwich, and Doug Dubitsky, R-Chaplin, whose districts include Norwich, also submitted a second bill asking for a $500,000 state bond through the state Department of Economic and Community Development “for the purpose of providing a grant-in-aid to the city of Norwich for the repair and rehabilitation of a roof, fencing and masonry at Dodd Stadium in Norwich.”…

The Norwich City Council last spring approved $800,000 to replace stadium lights — which no longer meet professional baseball standards — and replace the aging and failing heating and ventilation system and possibly extend protective netting around the infield.

Mayor Peter Nystrom said city leaders met with the legislative delegation in the fall and discussed Dodd Stadium as one of the city’s priority requests for state assistance. City officials are in negotiations with the Connecticut Tigers owners to extend the team’s 10-year lease of the stadium. The stadium upgrades will be part of the city’s commitment.

Nystrom said he hopes the city’s $800,000 bond will show state officials that the city is investing in the stadium, as well. “We’re doing our part,” he said.

Dodd Stadium originally hosted the Norwich Navigators (Class AA; Eastern League) starting in 1995, with the team later rebranding 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.

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