Just ahead of this year’s baseball season, Hank Aaron Stadium reveals brand new improvements geared toward increasing attendance at the ball park.
The Mobile City Council recently signed off on $107,000 to replace the stadium’s aged seats after having endured the elements for than 20 years. But it’s not all the improvements in store for the stadium.
“We had new lighting installed before the 2015 season that was to bring it into compliance with major league baseball,” said Chris Morgan, general manager of the Mobile Bay Bears. “We’re standing on a new outfield — more importantly a new outfield with new drainage.”
The improvements are part of an ongoing effort over the last three seasons as Morgan became manager and Sandy Stimpson as mayor. Under Stimpson, the Mobile City Council has shifted their gaze to the aging stadium, recognizing its need for updated equipment.
Councilwoman Bess Rich, though, has often taken a ‘Let’s stop and think about this’ approach when it comes to spending more money at the Hank.
“We have to come to the point to say, ‘You can conduct your business,'” Rich said. “It is a for profit business in a public facility, so the partnership that they entered into should be honored.”
Morgan says he thinks the ongoing improvements and renewed grassroots marketing has caused attendance at games to level off but hopes those efforts will put more people in the seats.
The Bay Bears will open their season on April 6 in Chattanooga. Their first home game at the improved Hank is April 12 against Jackson.