Schaumburg, park district still prioritizing work on Boomers Stadium

Schaumburg village and park district officials are still deciding how much of previously recommended upgrades to Schaumburg Boomers Stadium to prioritize for next offseason - and whether any might be dropped altogether.

The Schaumburg Park District recently budgeted $300,000 for its half of any maintenance and life-safety projects during the 2018-19 fiscal year, which isn't extraordinarily more than a typical year of the past.

But park district Executive Director Tony LaFrenere said that figure was meant more as a placeholder with the expectation of possible change as discussions continue with the village and their shared tenant, the Schaumburg Boomers baseball team.

"It's a work in progress, and we were cognizant that our budget is a little bit smaller than the village's," LaFrenere said Tuesday. "The variables in play aren't completely ironed out."

In December, the two local governments that co-own the 19-year-old stadium had seemed to settle on a four-year, $10.5 million plan of upgrades.

But a joint meeting of the elected boards last week cast some doubt on that plan, as new Boomers General Manager Michael Larson questioned some of the planned renovations recommended by a consultant firm last year.

Among Larson's suggestions were prioritizing an upgrade of the suites over the seats, letting the Boomers handle repurposing the underutilized press box, and keeping the current natural grass on the field instead of paying $1.7 million for artificial turf.

Schaumburg Village Manager Brian Townsend said the plans for next offseason never included the more major of the consultant's recommended upgrades. But with the village's new annual budget to be finalized in April, officials are eager to reach some basic consensus with the park district.

LaFrenere said the stadium is inherently a difficult structure to make major improvements to as the optimum building months are occupied by the Boomers' season, which starts in mid-May and ends in mid-September if the team makes the playoffs.

The Boomers have won three Frontier League championships in their first six seasons. In 2012, the team succeeded the now defunct Schaumburg Flyers as tenant of the stadium that opened in 1999.

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  Schaumburg village board members and Schaumburg Park District commissioners met last week with Schaumburg Boomers General Manager Michael Larson, standing at front, to discuss recommended improvements to the ballpark both local governments co-own. Eric Peterson/
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