SOUTH BEND – The South Bend Redevelopment Commission voted Tuesday to give $1.75 million for another round of renovations of Coveleski Stadium.
The Silver Hawks are in the process of getting a new owner but the city has already put $7 million towards renovations in the stadium. The soon to be owner, Chicago businessman Andrew Berlin, says those renovations were a good start but in order to get people into the stadium it still needs more work.
It has a new jumbo-tron, artificial turf, and center field entrance and soon the team that plays at the stadium will have a new owner.
Berlin hopes to increase attendance and profits, something the previous owners had a hard time doing.
"The renovations that were done here last year, was a fantastic start, they focused on aesthetics, but not so much the family experience,” said Berlin. “Although, there have been some fantastic additions here."
Berlin plans to attract families to the cove by adding indoor batting cages and putt-putt golf in the right field along with a playground and rock wall in left field. He is also planning on putting in at least a million dollars of his own money for the project.
"It's not just about baseball anymore; it's about creating a family experience,” said Berlin. "I think we're going to attract a lot of people here. I think the Cove has great bones, it just needs a little bit of work."
The Silver Hawks have been running on debt for the past several years. Berlin plans to pay cash for the team. He says that will free up plenty of money to use for advertising, something he says the current owners couldn't do a good job of.
The republican common council member Dave Varner voted against the proposal saying there is no guarantee this is a smart investment.
The team is also staying in South Bend for a while after signing a 20 year lease. The city will be paid a minimum of $1.5 million over those 20 years.