ATLANTIC CITY — City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to appropriate $1.2 million in city bonds to pay for improvements at Sandcastle Stadium, Bader Field and the New Hampshire Avenue seawall.
Council members approved canceling appropriations that were previously approved for various city improvements and, instead, adding that money to the capital surplus fund.
Councilman At-Large Mo Delgado said the improvements are necessary. Improving Bader Field and Sandcastle Stadium will go a long way toward improving the city as a whole, Delgado said following the meeting.
Meanwhile, the city has advertised for proposals from companies to install turf and improve the field at Sandcastle Stadium.
The vote approved $800,000 for the turf restoration and roof repairs. That work will continue an overhaul of the 5,000-seat arena started a year ago.
The city spent $300,000 last spring cleaning up the garbage, graffiti and other damage that had overtaken the facility during 18 months after its closing in the wake of the collapse of the Atlantic City Surf minor league baseball team formerly headquartered there.
Workers addressed the mezzanine level, with the first and third floors expected to require $450,000, and professionalizing the field as much as $110,000 on top of that, Public Works Director Paul Jerkins said at the time.
Jerkins, who is on vacation, was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Delgado said there has been continued conversation about having a professional baseball team return to the city, but nothing has been brought up for consideration.
Mario Perucci, former manager for the Surf, said he has met a few times this year with city officials regarding bringing the team back.
That will not happen, if at all, before next year, he said. Although “the city is doing an excellent job getting that stadium back in shape,” the 14-year-old facility needs its scoreboard replaced and clubhouses restored as well, he said Wednesday.
In the meantime, the stadium could host tournaments and other special events once the field work is complete, Perucci said.
“If the field is where we think it should be, we’re going to seriously look at bringing some pro games, assuming the Can-Am or Atlantic league is interested,” he said. “But the field is so much better along than it was even two months ago. I have to commend the Langford administration (for) staying on that. They’ve got crews working on that every day.”
City Council also approved $410,000 for improvements to the seawall.
In the council agenda packet, it listed the seawall’s “useful life” as about 15 years.
“The seawall is a thoroughfare and it needs to be protected,” Delgado said, adding the wall is part of the city’s historic Gardner’s Basin. “It’s a couple of steps away from the full renovation package (of the pier).”
Delgado said the improvements were also a way to enhance a popular fishing spot to ensure anglers who regularly cast there will have a safe place to do so.
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