Harrisburg’s Minor

Thu January 01, 2009 - Northeast Edition

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) Harrisburg’s minor league baseball stadium will get a $45 million renovation, city officials announced Dec. 19.

Mayor Stephen Reed said the work on Commerce Bank Park will begin by the end of January. Some of the renovations are to be done by April, with most improvements and additions scheduled for completion by April 2010.

The work is being paid for largely with public money, including $18 million from the city’s construction bonds and $16 million from the state. The plan includes a new video board, luxury seats and many other upgrades.

The announcement follows nearly a decade of talk about upgrades needed to keep the Senators, a Class AA affiliate of the Washington Nationals, competitive in attendance with other Eastern League teams. The club ranked last in attendance among the 12-team league last season.

“To tell you the truth, if we had gotten all the funding in place two years ago and gone ahead with the originally designed stadium, we would not have wound up with a product as good as what we’re going to get with this lesser cost,’’ Reed said.

City Council member Patty Kim said she is concerned about financing, given the recent economic decline.

“I question if these monies and grants are readily available right now,’’ Kim said, adding that she found it difficult to see millions going to the project given the city’s other needs such as its incinerator and public safety.

The club ranked last in attendance among the 12-team Eastern League last season.