Pohlman Field's makeover done

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Pohlman Field, home to the Beloit Snappers baseball team, will be ready when its new professional affiliate, the Oakland Athletics’ Class A minor league team, come for opening day in April.

The outfield was completely redone in November after the city added $100,000 of supplemental funding for the job.

“The outfield is raised up to the level of the infield,” said City Manager Larry Arft, adding he had visited the ballpark after the work was complete.

Waukegan, Ill.-based Van’s Enterprises was hired to tear out the old sod and replace it with brand new sod, as well as level it out with the infield.

A new sprinkler system was also put in.

“The outfield project is coming along very nicely, and we are excited to have such a great playing surface for the arrival of the Oakland Athletics in 2013,” said Snappers General Manager Matthew Bosen in a November statement on the Snappers website while the project was under way.

A new outfield is just the start to much needed improvements to Pohlman Field, Arft said.

Walkways in the stadium will be redone this spring, and a bid for the project is expected to go out this winter, he said.

The Minnesota Twins ended its affiliation with the Snappers after about seven years due to the poor condition of the stadium.

The Snappers have a player development agreement with Minor League Baseball that guarantees a team for Beloit until 2020.

However, Arft said the city would like to keep professional baseball beyond that. In order to keep a team long-term improvements to Pohlman were needed.

In October, city council members appropriated an additional $100,000 from the Street Resurfacing Budget in 2013. The money was appropriated back into the Capital Improvement Budget for next year, but won’t be spent to bring it back into balance.

The repairs had to be done in the fall in order for the new sod to take before opening day on April 11.

Normally, the city appropriates about $32,000 per year for general maintenance purposes, and additional funding comes from the lease of a cell tower located on the stadium property.

However, it wasn’t enough to complete the projects needed in order to sign the Oakland Athletics for two years.

A new stadium is ideal to keep professional baseball in Beloit past 2020, however, it isn’t feasible for the city right now.

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