Pittsburgh Pirates to give as much as $3 million more for McKechnie Field renovations

mvalverde@bradenton.comAugust 17, 2012 

BRADENTON -- The Pittsburgh Pirates will contribute an additional $2 million to $3 million for renovations at McKechnie Field, increasing total enhancement costs for their Bradenton spring training home to approximately $10 million, an organization official said Thursday.

"Realizing there's a limited amount of money the city had, the Pirates will move forward paying for additional costs," said Trevor Gooby, senior director of Florida operations for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Officials plan to enhance

the ballpark with fan-friendly amenities that include a new tiki bar in the center field, more seating in the outfield and a boardwalk. The park's capacity will also increase from 6,500 to 8,500.

Bradenton will not be paying any more than its committed $7.5 million, Carl Callahan, city clerk and treasurer said. "We won't go higher than that."

The $7.5 million the city is giving to the project will come from "bed tax" levied on tourists who stay at area hotels, not from local property taxes.

Gooby said that as the city, contractor and baseball organization were getting closer to finalizing a firm price for the project, they realized that some costs were going to be higher than expected. The added money will also help pay for new batting cages, he said.

McKechnie Field, at Ninth Avenue West and 17th Street West, is also the regular season home of the Bradenton Marauders, the Pirates' Single-A affiliate.

The renovations are expected to start around the end of the Marauders' season and be completed in February in time for the 2013 Pirates spring training.

"We are in the process now of securing subcontractors and getting contracts ready and start within three weeks," said Ron Allen, president of NDC Construction, the contractor selected by the city for the renovation.

McKechnie Field will be celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2013.

Miriam Valverde, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @MiriamValverde.

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