Event marks ballpark's face-lift

From Staff ReportsApril 28, 2008 

— The city of Durham will mark the start of a $5 million renovation of Durham Athletic Park with a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning.

The ceremony is set for 9 a.m. at the park, 400 Cleveland St.

The renovation will include a new playing field that will be installed and maintained by Minor League Baseball professionals. The city also plans upgrades to restrooms and concession and seating areas as well as new picnic areas and concourses. The restoration is expected to be finished in December.

The Durham Athletic Park was home of the Durham Bulls from 1926 until 1994. The 1988 movie "Bull Durham" was filmed there. Since the Bulls moved to the new Durham Bulls Athletic Park in 1995, local baseball and softball leagues have used the old field.

The park has been the scene of concerts and festivals, such as the Bimbe Cultural Arts Festival, Bull Durham Blues Festival and the World Beer Festival.

N.C. Central University will make the ballpark its home field beginning in the 2009 season.

The groundbreaking will include Mayor Bill Bell, City Manager Patrick Baker, Minor League Baseball President and CEO Pat O'Conner, NCCU Chancellor Charlie Nelms and Capitol Broadcasting Co. President James Goodmon.

The NCCU band will close the event with a performance.

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