SBD/January 6, 2012/Facilities

Rangers Give Media First Look At $12M Renovations To Ballpark In Arlington

The MLB Rangers Thursday "provided local news media a first look at the $12 million in improvements" to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, which "hasn't been significantly renovated since it opened in 1994," according to Susan Schrock of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. Team officials said that renovations to Vandergriff Plaza and the first floor of the center-field office building, as well as taller railings, are "expected to be complete by Opening Day" on April 6. To help give fans "relief from the elements, the Rangers are adding 23,000 square feet of air-conditioned indoor space." That includes a "two-story restaurant and sports bar with views of the field, a Kids Zone to replace the outdoor Vandergriff Plaza Sports Park and a 100-seat Batter's Eye Club atop Greene's Hill in center field." A new sports bar and "concession stands, an air-conditioned children's play area and additional club seating with spectacular views of the field are among fan-friendly features under construction." Rangers Exec VP/Ballpark Operations Rob Matwick said that even before these renovations are complete, team officials "are evaluating the next phase of new amenities, including possibly selling wine throughout the ballpark instead of just in certain areas." The renovations "come one year after the team spent $13 million to install new video boards and overhaul the ballpark's aging audio and video systems." While the city "isn't directly financing the project, the City Council approved a deal this week that lets the Rangers take advantage of the Arlington Convention Center Development Corp.'s tax-exempt certificate" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/6). In Ft. Worth, Jeff Wilson reports the ballpark's new railings, "built to the highest standard, are expected to be installed before Opening Day, a $1.1 million project spurred by the death of fan Shannon Stone in July." Prototypes of the design "now being fabricated were on display Thursday in left field, a few sections from the site of the accident." All railings "will be 42 inches -- 8 to 10 inches taller in most places -- and will be installed in front of the first row in all elevated levels." The project "is on pace to be done March 20, thanks largely to favorable weather" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/6).
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