Report: Boomer Stadium needs $13 million in upgrades to stay competitive

To keep up with upcoming competition from Rosemont, Boomer Stadium in Schaumburg needs almost $13 million in upgrades, according to a report presented to village trustees Tuesday night.

The report, which outlines upgrades in three stages, was presented to trustees by consultants from Jones Petrie Rafinski of Indiana. Although the stadium, owned jointly by the Schaumburg Park District and village of Schaumburg, is evaluated every year, the village hired the firm to give a more in-depth assessment because of the stadium and minor league baseball team planned for Rosemont next year.

Rosemont recently approved plans to build a $55 million, 6,300-seat minor league ballpark set to open in 2018.

While the 18-year-old stadium poses no urgent safety concerns, among the fixes recommended were giving the entire concourse a smooth concrete finish, fixing cracked steps and failing railings, replacing rusty bolts that hold seats to the ground, and replacing the foul-ball net behind the backstop.

Other fixes were mostly upgrades designed to improve the fan experience, including replacing several grandstand seats with terrace seats and tables, adding more electrical outlets along the concourse to allow for more portable vendors, expanding the team store to two stories to make merchandise more visible and eliminate the wind tunnel problem in the stadium, updating suites, installing a retaining wall in right field to eliminate a steep slope, and renovating the party deck in left field.

The three-stage plan is not all-or-nothing. If implemented as is, it would likely take six years to complete, according to Andrew Cunningham of Jones Petrie Rafinski.

One concern voiced by village Trustee George Dunham was that despite the Boomers' first-place record (55 wins, 24 losses) and the fact that they lead their league in attendance, the stadium — which has capacity for 7,365 fans with 5,665 fixed seats — is usually only half full. The Boomers average 3,600 fans and the league average is 2,400 fans.

Dunham and other trustees said they would like to see a marketing plan from the Boomers regarding how they would take advantage of the proposed upgrades.

“My greatest concern is signing up to spend a lot of money without seeing a marketing plan,” Dunham said.

While the cost of most of the upgrades would be the joint responsibility of the park district and village, the Boomers would be asked to chip in for upgrades that directly benefit them such as the expansion of the team store, Dunham said.

Trustee Marge Connelly asked if the stadium could be used for cricket games, saying there is nowhere for the large Indian and Pakistani population in Schaumburg to play the game they love. The consultants said they would look into it.

Trustee Tom Dailly said the report will now be studied by the village and park district staffs. He estimated that it would be discussed again at the village board meeting in two or three months.

This sketch from consulting firm Jones Petrie Rafinski shows the renovated party deck in left field at Boomers Stadium. Courtesy of Village of Schaumburg
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