The decade-old Bowling Green Ballpark is getting some major renovations.
The Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority, during a special meeting Friday, approved applying for a $2 million loan for the projects at the authority-run stadium.
The upgrades are part of an agreement with new Bowling Green Hot Rods owner Jack Blackstock.
The class A minor league affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays has played in Bowling Green Ballpark since it opened in 2008. Blackstock, a New York businessman and formerly a minority owner of the team, purchased the team outright earlier this year from majority owner Jerry Katzoff.
The planned upgrades include a new LED video scoreboard, a walkway around the outfield linking the entire park, Reinhart Club renovations and a new splashground water feature for children to be built in the outfield.
Already underway is a $260,000 replacement of the park’s original playing field, which had deteriorated to the point that the Hot Rods had to cancel a game last season because of poor field conditions.
In a phone interview Friday, Blackstock told the Daily News he plans a broad range of improvements at the ballpark, further details of which will be announced soon.
Warren County Fiscal Court on Friday also signed off on the loan for the ballpark improvements.
Blackstock has pledged to fund some ballpark improvements himself, calling the projects “a combined public-private effort.”
One change already noticeable at the ballpark is the removal of a painted mural depicting the stages of a baseball swing that had adorned the wall near the park’s main entrance.
Blackstock said he has gotten so many positive comments on the removal of the mural that he suspects “we could’ve charged people to help sandblast it off,” he joked.
This summer, the authority and Blackstock agreed to a lease deal, pending the team’s sale, that will keep the Hot Rods in Bowling Green with the agreement that the park would be updated.
With Friday’s approvals, the authority will now solicit bids for the $2 million loan.