Minor League Baseball is not pleased with progress on the Durham Athletic Park's renovation, and City Manager Tom Bonfield has called for an update report by next Tuesday.
In a Dec. 19 letter to Alan DeLisle, assistant city manager for economic development, Minor League Baseball CEO Pat O'Conner [cq] wrote that, "the DAP renovation project is falling short of everyone's goals and expectations."
Specifically, O'Conner mentioned construction delays that have "affected the enthusiasm and support" for the project; fear that Minor League Baseball could be blamed for the delays; and that the work performed at the DAP is of poor quality.
DeLisle forwarded the letter by email to Bonfield, who saw it when he returned to work Monday after a week's vacation. In the forward, DeLisle expressed his own concerns about the delays and quality issues.
DeLisle is away until next week and could not be reached for comment. Bonfield said he had known about "a couple of concerns" with the DAP renovation but the letter caught him by surprise.
"This is a very serious matter for the project, the city’s relationship with Minor League Baseball and the City’s credibility as a whole," he wrote in an email to several city administrators asking for the report.
Bonfield told the News & Observer he needs to find out just what is going on with the project before deciding how to respond and what followup action may be called for.
O'Conner could not be reached for comment.
Minor League Baseball, the umbrella organization for 18 leagues and more than 150 teams, has contracted with the City of Durham to manage the stadium and use it for training ballpark personnel, broadcasters and umpires once a $5-million renovation is complete. It has also proposed developing a baseball "fan experience" museum, in collaboration with the city, adjacent to the 82-year-old ballpark.