OLEAN – Bradner Stadium, the city’s historic ballpark undergoing renovations, will be ready for the start of baseball next spring, Olean officials said.
“We will be ready for baseball in June,” City of Olean Public Works Director Tom Windus said.
The stadium has been undergoing a refurbishing for a while, and the results are starting to show. A section of bleachers along the stadium’s south side has disappeared and has been replaced with new green space. The first stage of the renovations has yet to come to a close.
A new set of bleachers will be set up in the stadium in the coming days, according to Windus.
Also targeted for refurbishing is a tunnel that connects the stadium, beneath West State Street, to War Veterans Park. The 100-year-old subterranean passageway currently has calcium stalactites and cracks along its length. Repairs are essential for safety reasons, he said.
Plans are to bolster the tunnel with a new frame and to install recessed lighting. The walls also will be refurbished, Windus said.
The tunnel is believed to be a remnant of a water-diversion system for Olean Creek, along the west side of the stadium, where it meets the Allegheny River.
As the project moves forward, more of the stadium’s history has been uncovered.
“The area where the stadium is now used to be the point where boats would turn around in the canal,” Windus said.
Now, where boats once navigated, a new, permanent fence line, warning track and field realignment, will be done.
Currently, the football field is not level with the stadium’s bleachers. That also will be remedied.
The facility is used for Olean High School football as well as other amateur football teams. And beginning next spring, the Olean Oilers of the New York Collegiate Baseball League will make the stadium the team’s home.
Once the alignment is completed, the west goalpost also will be part of the home run fence line.
“When baseball is being played, the fence will be turned one way,” Windus said. “When one of the football teams are playing, it is turned the other way. It’s really a neat system.”
Windus also noted the final section of West State Street to be reconstructed fronts the north side of the stadium. Plans are to move the southern curb of West State slightly north to plant grass and trees, for a greener face to the stadium, Windus said.