OLEAN – It’s going to be more of a pitcher’s park than a hitter’s park, according to the vision outlines by City Public Works Director Tom Windus. Improvements on Bradner Stadium continue, and field work is the most recent mode.
Once completed, the right field fence is going to be 338 feet away from home plate, with left being 330 feet, and nearly 400 to center, according to Windus. The park, with a slightly different layout from the historic positioning of the stadium, will not have a classic arc as a home run fence, but will have a characteristic angular wall.
“It’s those things that make the park unique,” Windus said.
The wall will be constructed in the spring, the same time the rolls of sod will be laid for the infield, he said. Home plate is situated in the northeast corner of the park. The stadium now sits with the infield area devoid of sod, leveled and ready to become the home of the Olean Oilers in the spring.
Windus said all of the bleachers have been replaced, the tunnel has been completed with the exception of lighting, and the installation of a home team dugout has been completed. The installation of the dugout along the right field side of the bleachers – not too far from the press box area – has displaced seats for about 80 people of the 2,400 stadium capacity.
Some concerns remain. There’s a $500,000 shortfall needed to complete the entire project, as seen by Windus and city administrators.
“We are going to go out for bid on the fencing for the stadium soon,” he said. “Once we have those figures and can make a determination, I would like to be able to go out and bid on pouring the foundation, floor and building the structure for the fieldhouse, just to have it ready to go.”
The field house has been determined to be one of the lower priorities on the stadium reconstruction project. Some $1.6 million has been allocated to the project by the Olean Common Council, but those funds will not cover everything that is planned.
To date, the tunnel that connects the stadium to War Vets park, to the north of Route 417, East State Street, has been shored up with additional concrete walls and a steel reinforced ceiling. Bleacher refurbishments and work to the field have been completed as well.
Once the weather breaks and warmer temperatures allow for it, the fencing along the bleachers will be installed, as will the home run fence. If the funds allow for the construction of the field house, Windus said he would like to build it piece by piece.
“I think, if people can see that improvements are still happening, they will be a bit more accepting of the project,” he said.