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Stengel Field Stadium will be demolished

Unsafe building at Stengel Field has been closed to the public since 2011.

October 23, 2013|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • Stengel Field in Glendale on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. The stadium is set to face the wrecking ball after a City Council vote in favor of demolishing the 64-year-old building.
Stengel Field in Glendale on Wednesday, May 29, 2013.… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

The red-tagged Stengel Field Stadium is set to face the wrecking ball after a City Council vote this week in favor of demolishing the 64-year-old building.

The plan is to demolish the decrepit stadium and install temporary aluminum bleachers to seat 1,000 people until the Glendale Unified School District can raise enough money to build a new facility.

Last month, the city handed over maintenance of the green space at Stengel Field, which is often used by baseball teams from Crescenta Valley High School and Glendale Community College, to the school district, but the city still has authority over the stadium.

City officials said it was the school district's idea to begin fundraising for a completely new facility because rehabilitating the current one could cost between $3 million and $5 million. 

City Manager Scott Ochoa said the range is so wide because the true condition of the stadium is unknown since it's been closed to the public since 2011. The building is no longer safe for occupancy because of extreme water damage that has weakened its structural integrity, according to Glendale's building official.

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The built-in bleachers remained open until last June, when city officials closed off most of the seating except the first two rows for safety reasons, according to a city report. The shuttered stadium also includes below-ground-level locker rooms, offices, equipment storage rooms and a concession stand.

“It is the proverbial time to bite the bullet, we feel,” said Community Services and Parks Director Jess Duran. “The building has reached [the end of] its useful life.”

Ochoa said the school district plans to evaluate its fundraising efforts and could aim to raise as much as $8 million for a state-of-the-art facility, or $800,000 for permanent bleachers. It could take three years to build a new stadium, according to a city report.

Glendale plans to spend $450,000 to demolish the building and install temporary bleachers much like the ones used during the Pasadena Rose Parade on New Year's Day. The money will come from development impact fees paid by the builders of the multi-unit housing complexes sprouting up in downtown Glendale.

Although he agreed with the rest of the council and approved demolition of the building, Councilman Frank Quintero doubted the school district's ability to raise enough money for an $8 million stadium, which would include locker rooms, seating and other amenities. 

“I think it's going to be an uphill battle,” he said.

But Mayor Dave Weaver was more optimistic.

“I think it's doable in time,” he said. “That's the only way to go.”

Weaver suggested that school fundraisers reach out to the New York Yankees for a donation since the field is named after Casey Stengel, a former Yankees manager and one-time resident of Glendale who is buried at Forest Lawn Glendale.

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Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.

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