“A dream come true.”
That’s what Micky Flynn and others had to say about Fuller Park as the Woodward Parks and Beautification Board toured the newly renovated ballpark Tuesday morning.
The Parks Board members and a few guests including Flynn toured everything at the ballpark from the home clubhouse to the umpire lounge to the guest suites.
Architect Jim Hasenbeck explained how “we kept the clubhouses down low so that if you sit in the stands, you can see over them and see almost all of the field.”
The visitors also got a behind the scenes look at the concession area and a behind home plate view from the press box. They even got a peek at the special dumbwaiter that connected the two areas so that members of the press can enjoy ballpark fare such as nachos without having to miss any of the game.
The Parks Board members and guests even got to walk onto the “wonderful” diamond itself, as described by Woodward Main Street manager Kathryn Upchurch.
“I think our kids wish they were still playing ball,” Upchurch said in reference to the quality of the facility.
The renovated park will be busy over the next few months with the Woodward Travelers having some 90 games scheduled this summer. City Manager Alan Riffel said some special events are already in the works for next summer including a game between Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Panhandle State University.
Hasenbeck said this special game is possible because everything at the park, including the lights, has been designed to measure up to college standards.
Parks Board president Lester Neill said this busy schedule proves that “our dream’s coming to attrition; this will be bringing in revenue for the city.”
“Give it a couple, 3 seasons of maturing,” and Riffel said he believes the revenue opportunities afforded by the park will only increase.
“Once teams come here and experience it, they will want to come back again and again,” he said.
Officials are also hoping the fans will want to come back again and again, especially as the new facility can seat around 800 spectators.
“I think if you put people in here, it’ll come alive,” Hasenbeck said.
That’s what the city is hoping as well, Riffel said, noting that is why the city has made a deal with the Travelers to offer free admission to the opening game on June 1.
“We hope people will come out and enjoy some baseball,” he said.