Mayor Byron W. Brown today announced the City of Buffalo’s scheduled 2020 updates at Sahlen Field have been completed. The nearly $759,000 improvements bring total investments in the City-owned ballpark to over $5 million in the past 15 years.
This year’s upgrades included expanded netting to protect fans, as well as freight elevator replacement and engineering for future roof and electrical work. Over the past decade, the bulk of City re-investment in Sahlen Field has gone toward seat replacement, to improve fan comfort, and roof work.
“Since 2006, my Administration has invested nearly $5.2 million in Sahlen Field to keep that beautiful facility in the best possible condition. Since its construction, the ballpark has been considered one of the nation’s best Triple-A baseball parks and we are committed to keeping it that way,” Mayor Brown said.
A major portion of this year’s investment is $475,000 for new fan protection netting. Under revised Major League Baseball (MLB) safety rules expanded netting is required along the first and third base foul lines to safeguard fans in those sections. The installation began in 2019 and was completed this year, even though the Buffalo Bisons Triple-A season was cancelled back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s City investment also includes: $239,000 to complete freight elevator replacement and another
$44,000 for engineering studies for future roof and electrical work.
In his book, “Ballpark: Baseball in the American City,” Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger, lauded Buffalo’s downtown ballpark for breaking the mold for new-build urban baseball stadiums in its departure from concrete and steel.
“But it all changed in Buffalo. Wait. But Buffalo doesn’t have a Major League team! Correct; but it does have the minor league Buffalo Bisons. Goldberger points out that in 1988 the Bisons first took to Pilot Field, a ballpark that brings fans into the city, and has the scale and charm and architectural details that evokes Shibe Park, Forbes Field, Ebbets, Wrigley, and Fenway,” Goldberger wrote.
“We look forward to introducing the international baseball audience to the charm and beauty of Sahlen Field when the Toronto Blue Jay games are broadcast and streamed. It’s just one more reason for people to visit Buffalo and enjoy an afternoon or evening at a Bisons game in the future,” Mayor Brown said.
The continued investment in Sahlen Field is part of Mayor Brown’s revitalization efforts and complements other ongoing improvements in Downtown Buffalo, including:
- Cars Sharing Main Street – Improvements continue to the block between Scott and Exchange Streets. The $22.5 million lower Main Street section of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. To date, nearly $29 million has been spent to return vehicular traffic to the 500- through 700-block of Main Street, with the enhanced access greatly boosting residential, hospitality and retail investment in the corridor.
- Seneca One Tower- The $120 million investment by Douglas Development is undergoing a transformation into a mixed-use apartment and technology hub, housing M&T Bank and 43North. Construction is set to be complete by autumn 2020.
- Former Buffalo Police Department Headquarters – Douglas Development purchased the structure, located at 74 Franklin Street, and plans to transform it into a 130-unit residential apartment building.
- 201 Ellicott – The $45.8 million project will be home to a new Braymiller Market and 201 residential apartment units. Construction is expected to be complete by Summer 2021.
- DL&W Terminal – The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) is currently transforming the former Delaware, Lackawanna and Western (DL&W) Train Shed into a new commercial activity center on the Buffalo River waterfront and a new Metro Rail station. The $43 million project will enhance public access to some of the region’s most popular attractions in that area. The new rail station is set to be completed in 2022.
- New Exchange Street Train Station – The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) continues to construct the new $27.6 million train station. The project began in August, 2018 and is expected to be complete by October 2020.