The city of Woodstock is moving forward with upgrades to two baseball fields in Emricson Park through funds the city won from T-Mobile as part of a national contest last year.
The City Council held a discussion on the topic at its meeting Tuesday, with staff recommending renovations at Dream Field and Sullivan Field. Since the renovations will not be coming out of village coffers, no formal vote is required on it, Executive Director of Business Development Danielle Gulli said.
The renovations are expected to cost about $248,000 total, which falls within the donation amount given to the city, Gulli said. With what is being proposed, Dream Field would see its infield upgraded, totaling about $105,000, while Sullivan Field would see its entire field upgraded, totaling $133,000, according to village documents.
Sullivan will also have a sign installed recognizing T-Mobile’s contributions, which will run about $10,000, according to material.
Work on the upgrades is expected to begin in the fall and take a few weeks to complete, according to village material.
After touring all the fields in town and kicking around upgrade ideas that included field surfaces, scoreboards and field lighting, officials involved in the decision narrowed down the selection to Sullivan, due to the poor condition of its field surface, and Dream, where the surface is also reaching its replacement cycle, according to village material.
“Both of these fields have been premiere fields in the city by their design,” Mayor Mike Turner said. “They are showcases for when teams come and play here.”
The material that will be used is called Healthy Grass Technology, which is the same grass surface frequently used in Major League Baseball stadiums, such as Wrigley Field in Chicago, according to village material.
Staff thinks the upgrades to Dream Field will make it the “crown jewel” of Woodstock baseball fields, according to village material.
“We’ve had a great partnership with T-Mobile, and it’s been very valuable to the community,” Gulli said.
Last year, Woodstock was announced as the winner of T-Mobile’s inaugural Hometown Techover contest, beating out thousands of other towns to win more than $3 million in prizes.
Those prizes included a $200,000 grant, a donation worth $250,000 for the field refurbishment, prize packs for 100 residents, and a free concert from a country music singer in August, according to village documents. The company also donated more than 2,000 hotspots to Woodstock School District 200 to distribute to students in need.
T-Mobile also upgraded all of the city’s towers to 5G capability and plan to add a couple more towers in town, Turner said.
“The generosity of T-Mobile has been extraordinary,” Turner said. “The win for Woodstock is beginning to pay dividends and will continue to benefit the community for years to come.”