By KAITLYN NAPLES
July 5. That is the day Bristol will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its legendary Muzzy Field.
The field will have had a facelift to its exterior front entrance by then. The city is hopeful it can attract athletic figures and legends who have played ball at the famous field. There also will be a concert, fireworks, baseball games, and more to celebrate the field’s milestone.
The city has partnered with the REACH Foundation, based in Farmington, to throw the bash. REACH will be able to get bigger sponsors and also a Top 40 artist for the concert, which is yet to be determined.
Last Wednesday, the Park Board’s Anniversary Committee met to discuss further plans and decided it will begin sending out letters to athletic teams, celebrities, dignitaries, and then sponsors.
Superintendent of City Parks Ed Swicklas said he plans to contact the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, among other professional teams, “to see if they want to be a part of this or recognize what we are doing.”
While there are games and other activities going on inside the stadium during the day, there is expected to be a craft fair/carnival outside of the park. Also, representatives from the West End Association attended last Wednesday’s meeting and said they are interested in setting up a wing competition in front of the stadium for local restaurants. West End Association President Dave Hamelin said he will be proposing the idea to REACH, as well as offering to set up vendors. The Bristol Historical Society is also involved and will be supplying artifacts and showcases that display memorabilia from Muzzy Field over the years. Tom Dickau, Historical Society president, said the group will also be making ornaments that they will be selling that will have a Muzzy Field theme.
Swicklas said REACH isexpecting to spend between $75,000 to $100,000 on the event, however that figure could change. He said it was expecting to have a meeting with REACH this past Thursday to go over more details and responsibilities among the organization and the City.
In 2012, the city agreed Muzzy Field was in need of some renovations, especially since its 100th anniversary was coming up and it hadn’t had any renovations done since 1981. Swicklas said the renovations will take place in two phases, and the first phase was expected to go out to bid this Friday. He said by the next Park Board meeting in March he expects to have proposals in from companies looking to do the work.
The first phase is going to cost about $1 million, and will include a redesign the existing concrete entrance, landscaping, paving, utility work, expanding parking, and more. All work depends on the way the weather cooperates. However, Swicklas said the first phase should be completed by the anniversary celebration. After that, the second phase will go out to bid and that work will be done, which includes interior work inside the stadium. Both phases combined are expected to cost about $2.5 million.
The field was donated to the city in 1912 by then-Parks Commissioner Adrian Muzzy. The Bristol Red Sox played all of their home games from 1973 through 1982 at Muzzy Field, and baseball legend Babe Ruth hit the first home run out of the city’s field. Currently, Muzzy Field is used by the American Legion baseball team, and the three city high schools.