Plans surrounding Stengel Field postponed

Plans to shut down Stengel Field for renovations have been postponed, along with a plan to shift management of the field from the city of Glendale to the Glendale Unified School District.

The home field for the Crescenta Valley High, Glendale Community College and Glendale Angelenos baseball teams will be closed from mid-August through October for renovations, Glendale Director of Community Services and Parks Jess Duran said.

Originally, the city planned to shut down Stengel in July, which would have left the Angelenos without a home field and possibly ended their season a month early. The summer wood bat team can now complete its regular season with its final game scheduled for July 30.

Glendale Unified was set to approve a memorandum of understanding between itself and the city at the June 18 district board meeting that would put the district in charge of maintenance, operation and management of Stengel Field. The vote was tabled because of concerns about the conditions of the field’s bleachers.

In a meeting with Duran on Friday, Tony Riviera, the Angelenos’ coach and general manager, said he was told only the first two rows of the stands at Stengel would be usable for the remainder of the season, as the rest have been “condemned.”

It’s not yet known how much it would cost to replace the stands, Duran said.

“We are going to be able to use the field for July, but not really be able to get any fans in the stands to see the game,” Riviera said.

Should the Angelenos qualify for the playoffs in August, they will likely need to play on the road or find another home field.

“As of now, the only commitment we can make is for [the Angelenos] to play through July,” Duran said. “If they have any other games in August, they’d all have to be away games.”

If the district did take over the operation and management of Stengel Field, it’d be adding to its budget after undergoing drastic cutbacks for more than half a decade.

While Duran was unsure how much the district would be taking on with Stengel, he did say it costs the city “a lot” to run the field, estimating about $100,000 a year.

While Glendale Unified has made more than $30 million in spending over the past six years, the district is expecting a $7.8 million bump in state funding for the 2013-14 school year, according to its most recent budget passed at the June 18 board meeting, according to a June 19 Glendale News-Press article.

With a world of uncertainty surrounding Stengel, Riviera still feels his team is on the way out and will have to find a new field for the 2014 season.

Respective Glendale college and Crescenta Valley baseball coaches Chris Cicuto and Phil Torres hope their teams aren’t negatively impacted if the field does change hands.

“Last year, we lost a key to the field and we didn’t have as much access as we wanted to,” Cicuto said in late May. “I am excited about getting more access back, if that’s the case and the district gets the usage.”

“We love playing here, we love Friday nights at Stengel, so I’m hoping we don’t lose that,” said Torres, who referred to Stengel as a jewel. “I hope the people in charge can figure that out, that’s way above my pay grade.”

It’s uncertain when the city and district will meet again regarding Stengel. The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for July 16.

“It’s up in the air,” Duran said of when the two will meet again. “We have to get back together with city and GUSD staff to see where we stand.”

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