The Waterbury Board of Aldermen voted Monday night to approve funding for the Municipal Stadium, breathing new life into the ballpark that has sat vacant during a stalled project to rebuild the facility.
Mayor Neil O'Leary has lobbied hard for new funding alongside Waterbury State Rep. Jeff Berger. In a commentary piece published by the Waterbury Republican-American, O'Leary called on city residents to urge aldermen to take action.
It worked. The board voted Monday night to approve an additional $800,000 in funding to jump start reconstruction, according to the mayor, who touted the stadium's economic appeal.
Terry Corcoran, spokesperson for the mayor's office, said the $800,000 will be pooled with $1.7 million left over from unfinished work.
"Approval will enable us to install the aluminum-deck seating for 1,800 persons within the granite facade at the main field, and construct a ticket booth and small office beneath the deck. In addition, new dugouts will be built, and the backstop and scoreboard replaced," O'Leary wrote in the Republican-American.
O'Leary said the new funding will also allow the city to construct a standalone building containing bathrooms and locker rooms, redesign the south parking lot and build new sidewalks and fencing. A full breakdown of the proposal is available online.
Corcoran said that although there is no timeline for construction, O'Leary wants to get started as soon as possible. The project has already been put out to bid and the city has selected a contractor.
The goal is to capitalize on the stadium's Major League-sized baseball field. Officials aim to build a facility that can host regional and collegiate baseball tournaments and "things that might bring people to the city for a night or two," according to Corcoran.
"Waterbury deserves a first-class sports complex," O'Leary wrote.