New Schaumburg Boomers GM doesn't agree with some planned stadium upgrades

The new general manager of the Schaumburg Boomers spoke Monday to the two governments that co-own the baseball team's stadium about his differing opinion on some potential upgrades to the facility that were recommended by a consulting firm last year.

For instance, Michael Larson told Schaumburg village board members and Schaumburg Park District commissioners of his preference for the stadium's current natural grass over a planned $1.7 million installation of artificial turf.

Village Trustee Tom Dailly said the suggestion of artificial turf made sense to him for its ability to hold more events at the stadium, especially ones in which the public could be on the field.

Larson said there would be some such benefits, but the question was whether they'd justify the cost of the turf.

He also thought there were ways the team itself could repurpose the underutilized press box instead of the $184,000 renovation currently on the village and park district's to-do list.

Larson further spoke in defense of the stadium's current seating, saying it's the 19-year-old suites that are in greater need of an update.

In December, both local governments agreed on a four-year, $10.5 million plan to upgrade the ballpark they co-own.

Schaumburg Village Manager Brian Townsend said Larson's remarks provided a basis for future discussion and possible reassessment, but that the village still intends to move ahead with the first year of the planned work next off-season with an emphasis on life-safety and deferred maintenance issues.

Schaumburg Park District Executive Director Tony LaFrenere agreed that prioritizing in such a way left time to possibly rethink the consultants' recommendations for bigger changes to the stadium.

Though the Boomers have delivered three championships in their first six seasons and boast the Frontier League's highest average attendance, Larson also spoke of plans for a stronger emphasis on fan enjoyment and community awareness.

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  New Schaumburg Boomers General Manager Michael Larson, standing at front, speaks to Schaumburg village trustees and Schaumburg Park District commissioners Monday about his thoughts on renovations to the stadium the two governments co-own as well as plans for stronger promotion of the baseball team that plays there. Eric Peterson/
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