The Erie SeaWolves (Class AA: Eastern League) could debut several changes to UPMC Park in 2020, including a new club area and other upgrades.
The SeaWolves are working with local officials on a roughly $20-million improvement plan for UPMC Park, a significant portion of which will be funded by a $12-million state grant. Along with improvements to player facilities, the renovation should result in several new and upgraded fan amenities, details of which were discussed at an Erie County Convention Center Authority board of directors meeting on Thursday.
As part of the renovations, the area down the left field line would be renovated to include a new entrance and multi-level structure that houses a team store, upper-level club area connected to Erie Insurance Arena (home of the Ontario Hockey League’s Otters), and more. Plans also call for improvements to the existing suite level and concession and restroom facilities, exterior enhancements, a widened concourse, upgraded batting cages, and the renovation of a right field party deck.
Under the timeline discussed on Thursday, construction on the renovations could begin this summer and much of the work could conclude prior to the 2020 season. More from GoErie.com:
Those amenities, and more, were unveiled and explained on Thursday as representatives from design firm Jones Petrie Rafinski presented renderings of the planned improvements for the downtown ballpark to the Erie County Convention Center Authority’s board of directors.
“This is our master plan,” said Andrew Cunningham, a landscape architect with the design firm, which has offices in Elkhart, South Bend and Fort Wayne, Indiana. “It kind of gives you an overview of the scope we’re looking at.”…
“I think that these improvements bring this ballpark up to the top standards of AA baseball and they will provide expanded opportunities for the SeaWolves and the Otters,” said Casey Wells, Erie Events’ executive director. “And with the arena and even the Warner Theater, the design benefits all the facilities and helps enhance the cultural and entertainment district downtown.”
Wells has said that the park needs about $20 million of work, and some construction could start as soon as July, during the SeaWolves’ season. The bulk of the work will be completed before the start of the 2020 minor-league baseball season, he said.
In the more immediate future, UPMC Park will see some changes for the 2019 season. A new playing surface has been installed, while a new videoboard is expected to be completed this summer.
UPMC Park was originally known as Jerry Uht Park when it opened in 1995. The SeaWolves were members of the Short Season A New York-Penn League at the time, with Double-A action arriving to Erie in 1999.
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