The Madison Mallards introduced a $1.3 million project to complete major renovations to their minor league baseball stadium at Warner Park.
The city's 2011 Capital Budget includes $800,000 for stadium improvements. The Mallards will pay $500,000 and have pledged to contribute an additional $500,000 to the stadium during the next 10 years of their lease.
President of the Madison Mallards, Vern Stenman, said most remodeling efforts will go toward the seating bowl. Seats near right and left field will not be renovated.
""There are a lot of parts of the ball park that we are holding on to,"" Stenman said.
Seats and benches will be taken out and replaced by ones from Camden Yards, the stadium of the Baltimore Orioles. Seating will be pushed six feet closer to the field, but the number of seats will remain the same.
Stenman said he does not expect attendance to increase because of renovations.
""It's really about improving the experience of the game for the good fans we've already got on hand here,"" he said.
A new addition will be all-inclusive seats behind home plate with access to two lounges.
Ticket prices for standing-room and upper-end tickets will remain the same. Price of lower-end tickets will increase from $7 to $9, but fans will sit on fold-down seats instead of benches.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said this is the first large project between the city and the Mallards organization. He said there have been attempts to get the stadium renovated over the last few years.
""The actual language and the concept of this cost-sharing arrangement has been approved by the city in the past and in prior capital city budgets,"" he said.
Verveer said Madison has had a few minor league baseball teams come and go, but the Mallards have proven to possess a ""great staying power"" and have ""turned into an extremely successful operation.""
Demolition on the grandstands has begun and the Mallards aim to have the project completed by the end of May 2011, before the Mallard's season opener.