Sports fans will soon be able to walk into the Grape Bowl from Stockton Street, buy their tickets, popcorn and use the restroom at a brand new building, and greet fellow sports fans on a concrete entry plaza before heading into the stands.
Construction has started on the next phase of Grape Bowl improvements, which are scheduled to be completed before Lodi and Tokay high school graduations.
Employees from Diede Construction were at the stadium on Thursday morning removing landscaping and taking down trees. The city already removed the west hill in early December, where the new plaza will go.
Aside from the entry plaza, concessions, restrooms and a ticket booth, the improvements will include seating that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA access to the upper concourse, stadium lighting modifications and landscaping improvements.
The stadium was originally built in the 1930s.
The Lodi City Council unanimously approved the $1.7 million project in March. Money is coming from a number of sources for the project.
The city will use the $1 million Waste Management gave to the city in exchange for a 7-year contract extension.
The Save the Grape Bowl campaign raised $178,000 toward the project. Metro PCS agreed to pay $35,000 as part of a contract in order to install equipment on the city's water tower.
In September, the council approved spending $472,684 of federal Community Development Block Grant funds. The parks capital fund will also contribute $14,316.
The council decided to move the start of construction ahead by five months to try to avoid construction interfering with high school graduation.
Diede will continue with demolition next week, construction superintendent Mike Bean said. In three weeks, they will start building the ADA ramps. The city is also currently working on the design of the 1,500-square-foot building and plaza.
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