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2/20/2013 10:46 A.M. ET

Pirates unveil newly renovated McKechnie Field

Historic ballpark undergoes the most extensive makeover since 1993

The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced the reopening of an enhanced McKechnie Field following the
completion of the first major renovation of the historic ballpark since 1993. Pirates Chairman of the Board, Bob Nutting was joined by several Front Office executives and local government officials as they unveiled the improvements to the ballpark that has hosted Pirates Spring Training home games since 1969.

The centerpiece of the renovations is a 19,000 square foot boardwalk spanning the outfield. Updates also include new group areas with enhanced sight lines to the field, expanded restroom facilities, new concessions locations and an enlarged Fan Plaza. Massive palm trees dot the landscape, with 18 towering in the fan plaza and 24 encircling the outfield, augmenting the charm of the 90-year-old stadium. The Boardwalk Barbeque Area, located on the boardwalk in the right field area, gives groups of 25 or more the chance to enjoy an all-you-can eat pregame picnic in full view of the field. On the opposite side of the ballpark, the new Left Field Party Deck features a high-end catering menu and an incredible vantage point to watch the game.

Fans can now enjoy a cold beverage at two new McKechnie Field bars. At the east end of the redesigned Fan Plaza is the Yuengling Plaza Bar. On the boardwalk, a stroll towards center field leads to the Kona Bar, built by NDC Construction. Both areas are open to all fans and feature a great variety of beers and cocktails.

"Fans will see a dramatically enhanced fan experience, all while maintaining that old time ballpark charm that we all love about McKechnie Field," said Nutting. "This project speaks to the strength of our partnership with Bradenton and Manatee County. It is a partnership of that, I believe, is the strongest in Major League Baseball thanks to the local leadership of Mayor Poston, the City Council, the County Commission, Tourist Development Council, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority and, most importantly, the support of the Bradenton community. The continued support of the local community is the real reason why we are about to embark on our 45th season here in Bradenton."

Every individual reserved seat was removed from the park, and 4,600 new, more comfortable seats were installed. The seats that were removed were sold to raise money for Pirates Charities, generating more than $2,000 for the Pirates' official philanthropic arm.

The new covered bleachers in left field added an additional 570 seats to the ballpark as the renovation has expanded McKechnie Field's capacity to more than 8,500 seats.

The renovation of historic McKechnie Field represents a unique public and private economic development project. The renovation was funded by the City of Bradenton, Manatee County and the Pirates. No property tax funds were used for the project, as the public contribution was raised through the Tourist Development Tax-- a fee included in charges for visitor accommodations in Manatee County. McKechnie Field's renovation was completed primarily by local companies with NDC Construction, based in Bradenton, as the construction manager. Fawley Bryant Architects, Inc., with offices in Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch, designed the project. Manatee County and Sarasota County are home to more than half the companies that worked on the project and more than 60 percent of the total workers involved with the project live in the two counties.

The 2013 Grapefruit League schedule features 16 games in Bradenton, beginning Sunday, February 24 at 1:00 p.m. when the Pirates host the Atlanta Braves. That day, gates open at 11:00 a.m. for Pirates Spring Training season ticket holders and at 11:30 a.m. for the general public. The home opener is a Pepsi Day, and features a Pirates tumbler giveaway, presented by Pepsi.

Tickets for all Pirates Spring Training games at McKechnie are available by visiting the McKechnie Field ticket office, calling 877-893-28-27, or online at Pirates.com/tickets. Ticket prices vary by advanced sale versus day-of-game purchases, with advance sale tickets available at a $2 savings.

McKechnie Parking Information
Day-of-game parking is available at several recommended locations. The Boys and Girls Club of Manatee County offers limited parking in the lot behind their building and in a lot accessible from 6th Street West. Both lots cost $10, with all proceeds benefiting the Boys and Girls Club. A $10 parking lot will be available at 800 17th Avenue West, on the site of the former Fogartyville Café.

Parking will also be available at the Bradenton Wastewater Treatment facility, located one-half mile east of the ballpark on 17th Avenue. Parking in this lot will cost $5, with all proceeds donated to the Boys and Girls Club. Parking will be available at Renaissance on 9th for $5, with proceeds benefiting Meals on Wheels PLUS and the Food Bank of Manatee. Overflow parking will be available in a lot located at 14th Street West between 12th Avenue and 14th Avenue, approximately one-third of a mile northwest of McKechnie Field. The lot will be available for Spring Training only and is unpaved and will not be staffed by the Pirates.

For more information about the Pittsburgh Pirates, McKechnie Field, or Spring Training tickets, call 941-747-3031 or visit Pirates.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.