Renovations may soon be happening at the park where the Jamestown Jammers play.
Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, said a comprehensive plan for improvements to Russell E. Diethrick Jr. Park, located at 485 Falconer St., is being pieced together. He said the plan is being done in cooperation with the team and with funding sources. The city owns the ballpark. Teresi said city and team officials are working to find funding for stadium improvements that will not be totally funded by taxpayer dollars.
“We’re working with the team as far as what we need to do for the next round of upgrades. Those plans are being worked on right now, and with the team and the funding sources out there,” Teresi said. “I can’t get into details, but a lot of folks are working on putting those ideas and plans together.”
Teresi said not much work needs to be done on the park because of the renovations that have been made through the years. He said by making steady improvements when needed a large complex makeover is not needed for the park.
“During the last 20 years, we’ve made a lot of cost-effective investments into the facility so it should be reasonable to make upgrades to continue making it one of the finest ballparks in the league, and in the country,” Teresi said.
Teresi said the ballpark was built in 1941, needing upgrades to keep up with modern standards. The mayor said the historic ballpark has been called the Wrigley Field or Fenway Park, the two oldest Major League parks, of minor league baseball.
“It has a quaint feeling to it, but has modern facilities in place,” he said. “We feel we can make upgrades without breaking the backs of taxpayers, but we need continued support at the turnstiles from the public and we need corporate support.”
Teresi said the city is in year four of a five-year stadium lease contract with the owners of the Jammers, the Rich family. He said the contract expires at the end of 2015 season. He said city officials and the Rich family will probably start talking about a contract extension after this season. He said, since the team was purchased by the Rich family in 1994, each lease for the stadium has been five years.
“We are quite confident whatever needs to be done for a lease extension can be done,” Teresi said.