Guardians start Progressive Field renovations

With the Cleveland Guardians season ending, at least when it comes to home games, a $202 million renovation of Progressive Field is getting fully underway today (Manica). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Demolition work on Cleveland ballpark starts today

After yesterday’s emotional send-off to Cleveland Guardians’ Manager Terry Francona at his last home game at Progressive Field, the Major League Baseball team is wasting no time building for the future. Today, the club work put renovations to the baseball stadium into fastball mode by removing merchandise, furniture, equipment and even the grass on the baseball field, according to an e-mail sent earlier this week to the city and other stakeholders.

“The Ballpark Improvement Project kicks into full swing, with demolition of the Terrace Club, the Left Field Upper Deck seating above it, the Right Field Upper Deck shipping containers, and the concrete that they sit on, in addition to the on-going construction of the East 9th Commissary & Kitchen Building,” wrote Jim Folk, vice president of ballpark improvements for the Guardians on Monday.

He said the Lower Bowl Seating Project will start, with most of the seats and hand rails being removed and replaced along with refurbishing the concrete. This work will involve large cranes and other heavy equipment on the Gateway Site streets and the playing field, scaffolding in the seating bowl, dirt, noise, pounding and vibrations, a fair amount of swearing and a lot of Dumpsters, he said, emphasizing the last part.

To prepare for this, starting today, the grass will be removed from the playing field, Delaware North Companies (hospitality and foodservice provided by DNC subsidiary Sportservice) and merchandise will clear out their stands; maintenance and custodial will clear out restrooms, janitor closets, and other spaces; and The Terrace Club will be completely out of service, with furniture and equipment being removed.

Barricades will start going up to identify construction areas including the entire playing field, lower-bowl seating, much of the main concourse, all of the mezzanine/family deck, all of the upper deck; both East 9th- and Ontario-side ramps. Safe passage will be maintained for Guardians staff between the corporate office building and the suites, press hallway, and clubhouses for those needing access to those spaces, Folk said.

This is a rendering of a renovated Progressive Field from behind home plate looking toward right field. In addition to this viewing area, another big change will be the removal of the “shipping containers” group seating that’s in the upper deck above right field (Manica).

Eagle Avenue/Larry Doby Way will be closed to vehicular traffic between Ontario and East Ninth Street starting Thursday for most of the off-season which ends in early April. A construction crane will be built outside the Terrace Club entrance/media gate and will be in place for roughly three weeks. Another crane will go up near the flag poles in center field Gateway’s seating bowl contractors will be using the road as a staging area to get their work started both in front of the ticket office and for the length of the scoreboard. Safe passage will be maintained allowing you to get from the Gateway East Parking Garage to and from the office building.

The baseball team players’ lot will be closed and unavailable starting today. Folk said the Guardians are working with clubhouse staff on specific access needs. Progrrssive Field’s Underground Service Area will be strictly off-limits from today through Oct. 19. Grass removal and field preparations will take place and occupy the Underground Service Area until Oct. 2. Installation of a matting roadway, dubbed the “Hickory Highway” for the crane will take up the week of Oct. 2. Crane delivery and erection will take up the two weeks following.

“While we’re at it, just to keep things interesting let’s throw in the circus — seriously — that is coming to town next week at the arena (Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse),” Folk said. “The short version is that we will have literally hundreds of truckloads of material and equipment arriving on site in a very limited amount of time to a very limited space.”

He encouraged people needing to use the Bolivar/East 7th Street entrance to the Gateway East Garage Garage to instead use the Huron Road entrance between Sept. 28 and Oct. 19.
Limited access for necessary business purposes will be coordinated through Folk to the construction team as appropriate.

“I realize that we are creating an unusual and somewhat uncomfortable environment for many,” Folk sad. “Things that we normally do won’t be able to happen, and places that we normally go won’t be accessible. These projects will create a lot of disruption to our business and the way we conduct it. With all that in mind, the goal of everyone involved in these projects – Gateway, Guardians, construction managers, contractors, trades – is to have a 100-percent safe environment throughout all of the work, with ‘zero accidents’ as the aim of everybody involved with these projects. We all take this very seriously, and it’s because of that we are being so restrictive in access.”


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