The City of Norwich is investing $800,000 of bonded money to upgrade Dodd Stadium.
The field is home to the Connecticut Tigers, the “Class A” team of the Detroit Tigers. General Manager Dave Schermerhorn said the money will go toward upgrading the field lights – currently they aren’t Minor League Baseball compliant – improving the netting that protects fans from foul balls and replacing an HVAC system, which is 25 years old.
“We’ve really made strides to open the facility and we want to be a large part of the community,” Shermerhorn said.
That includes hosting dozens of high school games and being a home field for a couple, hosting charitable events and creating 175 full-time and part-time seasonal jobs, Shermerhorn said. Plus, there’s spillover business to local restaurants and hotels.
“We have a responsibility as an owner to maintain this facility and keep it safe,” Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom said.
The amount City of Norwich borrows overall is very low, especially for a city of its size, according Nystrom. Debt service for this bond won’t show up for two years.
“There’ll be some increase but we’re working very hard to reduce spending on the other side,” Nystrom said.
He called Dodd Stadium a regional asset for the entire state and maintains his goal to lower taxes.
“I think it’s awesome! These kids don’t have enough to do on these streets,” said Montville resident Kelsey Robinson, who has taken her young children to a Connecticut Tigers game.
“A lot of the kids use it and they go to the games. They love baseball,” Uncasville resident Tawanna Quidgeon said.
Her son is on the Montville High School varsity baseball team that occasionally plays at Dodd Stadium. She thinks this is a great investment.
But some, like Norwich Public Schools teacher Fern Cipriani, said the money should go elsewhere. In her opinion, toward education.
“Giving us enough money to actually operate and keep teachers and students and that sort of thing,” Cipriani said.