By John Murray
Workers from the Universal Preservation Group lifted a 2000 pound slab of granite from the capping wall at the top of Municipcal Stadium today. The granite is the original stone that was installed during the building of the stadium 80 years ago under the corrupt administration of Waterbury Mayor T. Frank Hayes. The granite has been numbered 1-98 and will be reinstalled in its original spot atop the wall.
A groundbreaking ceremony with local elected officials was staged this morning at Municipal Stadium, which is entering final phase of a total restoration.
All that’s left of the press box is rubble. Waterbury Municipal Stadium has been in operation since 1930 and is used by varying groups from the Waterbury Youth Leagues, Waterbury High Schools, Teikyo Post University, AAU, American Legion and the Twi-Met league, among others.
Removing the 2000 pound slab of granite took two men with crow bars, two straps, a crane, and a crane operator. The slabs were placed on skids and will be moved inside the stadium to be cleaned.
Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary criticized the poor leadership of past administrations for allowing Municipal Stadium to crumple from a lack of maintenance. “There are lots of excuses,” O’Leary said, “but the reality is that the park system fell apart. It’s inexcusable.” Pictured behind O’Leary are from left to right, alderman Carlo Palladino, Greg Hadley Sr., and State Rep. Jeff Berger. O’Leary lauded the work Berger had accomplished to get the project funded.
The funds for Municipal Stadium, originally authorized in 2005, were reaffirmed by the General Assembly in 2007 and approved by the State Bond Commission. The first phase of the project included the installation of state-of-the-art artificial turf on Ray Snyder Sr. Memorial Field. The next phase included renovations to the grandstands and baseball diamond through the Waterbury Development Corporation. The groundbreaking ceremony signaled the start of phase III (the final phase) with the total cost of $3.1 million in state and local bonding for renovations to the grandstand.
State Rep. Jeff Berger said, “This is the culmination of four years of effort and a project total of $6.8 million for both the football footprint and the main grandstand baseball and little league field for municipal stadium so the spectators, players and coaches will have a premium facility for sports events and other activities. This is an ongoing effort in partnership with the Waterbury Development Corporation and the Department of Economic and Community Development and in cooperation with the City of Waterbury to fully renovate the grandstand, baseball footprint, scoreboard, backstop and dugouts.”
Waterbury Municipal Stadium has been in operation since 1930 and is used by varying groups from the Waterbury Youth Leagues, Waterbury High Schools, Teikyo Post University, AAU, American Legion and the Twi-Met league, among others.
After an extraordinarily weak effort on their first ground breaking flip of dirt at Municipal Stadium, Waterbury officials were encouraged to try again and show a bit more vigor, and they did. From left to right are aldermen Ernie Brunelli, Greg Hadley and Carlo Palladino, Mayor Neil O’Leary and State Representative Jeffrey Berger. The Stadium is in its third and final phase of a wholesale renovation to Waterbury’s main athletic facility and will be ready by July 1, 2013, just in time for the annual fireworks display.