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Committee recommends stadium repair

Hatten Stadium in New London dates back to 1935. The project was part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal Work Progress Administration to provide employment to Americans during the Great Depression. File Photo

City of New London, foundation to split costs

By Scott Bellile

The New London Parks and Recreation Committee recommended three repair projects to the city council on May 2.

The most extensive undertaking, a restoration of Hatten Stadium’s exterior, will be split evenly with the Hatten Stadium Foundation, costing the city $263,133.

“It’ll be a complete resurfacing of the exterior portion of the grandstands, which will in turn seal up all of the cracks and flaws that cause [water] to seep underneath and cause all the flooding in the basement,” Parks Director Ginger Sowle told the committee.

No start date is set, but Holton Brothers Inc. of Grafton will have until November 2024 to finish.

Last June, Sowle shared with the committee Holton Brothers’ assessment of the 1930s-built stadium, which is used by local baseball leagues.

“It was determined that the stadium itself needs repairs to [watertight] the seating area and the front face of the [backstop] that is cracking and falling apart,” Sowle wrote in a memo. “It is no secret that the underside of the stadium is in poor condition but sealing up the leaks from the top will be the first and most expensive step.”

Sowle further wrote the Hatten Stadium Foundation no longer fundraises and wishes to spend its remaining funds, so now is the time to invest in preservation while the foundation can contribute.

“With the uncertainty of the Foundation’s future, the stadium may once again fall back into complete care of the City’s budget, so any work done now will be beneficial to maintain … what that looks like in the future,” Sowle wrote.

Other projects

Holton Brothers, whose specialty is restoring historical buildings and structures, will handle a second project, a $47,358 reconstruction of part of Hatten Park’s stone wall.

“Are they going to be able to … do the whole wall for us?” Committee Chairman Robert Besaw asked.

Work will be limited to 40 feet of wall that has toppled along Werner-Allen Road, Sowle said.

The committee approved a third project, a $17,993 contract to Radke Contractors of Winneconne to perform rip-rap replacement along the Bernegger River Walk downtown.

Flooding along the south shoreline of the Wolf River has led to erosion, in turn washing out native plants and impacting the drainage system for the piers.

The three expenditures were scheduled to appear before the city council for approval Thursday, May 11.

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