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Burlington Athletic Stadium renovations move forward

Burlington Athletic Stadium renovations for the 2023 season are moving forward, with the budget for the project raised to $2.6 million from the original $1.95 million for the home of the Burlington Sock Puppets (summer collegiate; Appalachian League).

Burlington Athletic Stadium is one of the classic ballparks of the Carolinas, originally installed in Danville and then moved to Burlington. (It’s one of the best ballpark stories out there and chronicled by Mark Cryan in Cradle of the Game: North Carolina Baseball Past and Present. A third edition is forthcoming; subscribe to the August Publications newsletter to keep informed on its progress.) The Burlington Athletic Stadium renovations would add a three-tiered deck down the first-place line, featuring a bar and entertainment space for year-round events.

“The project goal…is to enhance the social experience for people at the ballpark and to create more opportunities for events outside the season,” Burlington Assistant Manager Nolan Kirkman told the city council. “So, we’re looking at a shaded structure, a fully functional kitchen, restrooms, and multiple levels where you can socialize.” From Alamance News:

Kirkman went on to acknowledge that the plan which he had just pitched to the council would cost the city some $2.6 million to consummate. Since this figure represented an increase of roughly 33 percent over the project’s original budget, Kirkman also presented two other competing proposals in the event that the council wanted to keep its costs somewhere in the ballpark of the previously agreed-upon sum.

The assistant manager’s first alternative dispensed with many of the project’s aesthetic flourishes in order to bring the price down to $2.3 million. He also presented an even more streamlined proposal that did away with the raised platform and reduced the in-house kitchen to a mere shell and, in the process, managed to bring down the project’s estimated cost to $2 million.

The council, for its money, seemed perfectly content to pursue the $2.6 million proposal even after Kirkman had presented the more economical options during the work session.

This will certainly change the feel of the classic ballpark. Even if you’ve never been, you can imagine its layout: classic Carolina grandstand with large roof and the main concessions tucked under the grandstand. This addition should disperse traffic throughout the ballpark footprint.

Renderings courtesy City of Burlington.

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