Published DateLACONIA — Laconia Muskrats General Manager Noah Crane last night updated the city's Parks and Recreation Commission on changes which will be taking place at Robbie Mills Field as the team enters its fourth season in the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
Crane said that as soon as weather permits work will start on completing a 48 foot by 42 foot deck atop and behind the 17 foot high replica of Fenway Park's Green Monster in left field. The 2,000-square-foot deck will house the park's food and beverage concession, which will include the sale of beer, and will be the only place at the park where alcohol will be allowed.
He said that the Muskrats will outsource the food and beverage concession at the deck while retaining its own concession stand in its current location behind the stands.
Crane said the vendor will be someone with restaurant experience who will be able to offer quality food and is experienced in alcohol sales.
Commissioner George Hawkins wondered if the Muskrats will be able to realize additional funds from the new deck concession as part of its local fundraising effort and Crane said that the contract will provide either a flat fee for each of the 22 home games or a percentage of the sales. He also said that funds may also be realized from selling a sponsorship for the deck, which would most likely be a multi-year contract.
He said there would be no signs or banners advertising the alcohol sales as the field is also used by high school baseball teams.
Commissioner Hawkins said that he hoped that attendance would rise at the games and asked who would get the ultimate say as to who the vendor, who would need to be licensed by the city, would be.
Crane said that the decision on the vendor would be made by the board of directors of the Muskrats.
Crane said that another change would be the addition of about 60 to 75 seats directly behind home plate, which he said will see a lot of use by scouts from major league teams when the Muskrats host the NECBL All-Star game on Sunday, July 21.
''They like to set up their radar guns in that area behind home plate and we expect that the All-Star game will be heavily scouted,'' said Crane.
He estimates attendance at the All-Star game will be at least 1,200 and perhaps half again as much if the weather is good. Attendance at NECBL All-Star games has reached as high 2,200 in Newport, R.I., and 1700 in Lynn, Mass.
He said that the best players in the league will be coming to Laconia for the game, which he said will showcase not only the quality of the facility but also the close relationship that the Muskrats have with the city of Laconia.
''It will be a big test for the Muskrats and the city,'' said Crane.
Kevin Dunleavy, director of Parks and Recreation, said that the department has an existing set of bleachers, 10 feet deep by 27 feet long, which can be relocated behind home plate and that he is looking at either a cement slab underneath them or blue stone or ledge pack.
Hawkins said that he hoped the choice would be a cement slab, because it provides a secure anchor and makes cleanup much easier.
Commissioners expressed support for the changes to the park and said that they expected that the new concession area will help boost attendance at Muskrat games this coming season.