Mayor Purzycki presents plan to revitalize Baynard Stadium

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki on Thursday announced a revitalization plan for Baynard Stadium and Eden Park. The plan caps off a process to re-imagine the two long-neglected City-owned spaces.

“This proposal will vastly improve two important city assets while making the facilities more readily available for sporting events and public use,” Purzycki said. “We studied very carefully the history of this issue and have found a way to make both Eden Park and Baynard Stadium more beautiful and useful facilities for everyone to enjoy.”

The Baynard Stadium portion involves a public/private partnership between the City and Salesianum School, The private boys-only Catholic school was the only organization both willing and able to help refurbish the sports facility.

The Eden Park renovation is expected to cost $2.4 million. The Baynard Stadium renovation could cost upwards of $15 to $20 million.

Here are a breakdown of the planned improvements:

Eden Park Athletic Field, Pool, Playground and Picnic Area: 

* The City will build a new multi-purpose, synthetic turf, full-size athletic field suitable for the sports of football, soccer and lacrosse; current athletic field lights and bleachers will remain in place.

* The City will re-grade and seed an existing sports field which is adjacent to the new turf field, making it available as a practice field or for events such as flag football and rugby.

* The City will add a new athletic field scoreboard.

* The City will install new fencing to border the athletic field.

* The City will resurface the basketball court, add new backboards, and remove the current fencing which prohibits movement of players.

* The City will paint and recoat three park pools (five-foot depth, three-foot depth and a baby pool).

* The City will upgrade the pool filtration systems so each pool has its own system.

* The City will create a relaxation area adjacent to the pools so family members can keep watch on their children.

* The City will add an umbrella spray feature to the pool complex.

* The City will replace park playground equipment and add a synthetic mulch playing surface to protect children from falls.

* The City will upgrade park picnic pavilions and install new picnic tables.

* The City will refurbish and seal coat the park’s parking lot.

Baynard Stadium

* Salesianum School will build a new sports facility with a turf field, track, lights, bleachers, locker rooms, restrooms, scoreboard, press box, concessions, office space, community meeting space, landscaping, and hardscaping.

* Salesianum School will maintain the sports facility in good, safe, and clean condition at its sole expense. DNREC currently maintains the facility at an approximate loss of $100,000 per year. The City has not operated the facility in nearly 50 years.

* Non-Salesianum users, including other schools and youth groups in Wilmington, currently use the stadium approximately 130 hours per year for games and events. Under the lease, such users will be contractually guaranteed a minimum of 360 hours a year to use the facility. Wilmington-based youth athletic leagues will have free access to the facility. The access would accommodate the equivalent of at least 180 two-hour sporting events each year.

* Salesianum School will make the facility calendar publicly available, so that facility use will be transparent.

* An additional 90-daylight hours per month are set aside for public access to designated areas of the stadium complex, which will be published on the public calendar.

* The City, through the Parks and Recreation Department, will work with Salesianum to schedule its youth athletic events, during which the users will be permitted to sell food and other items and retain the funds from those sales for their own purposes.

* Local schools that currently stage their events at Baynard Stadium (Howard, St. Elizabeth, Delaware Military Academy and Padua Academy) will continue to have similar access to the facility based on their existing use.

* The initial 50-year lease agreement between the City and Salesianum would be followed by one-year extension options for up to 50-years, renewed at the option of Salesianum School unless the school defaults under the lease.

* Salesianum School would have the ability to rename all portions of the facility as part of the school’s fundraising initiatives to support needed capital improvements.

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