ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New improvements are coming to Isotopes Park ahead of the April 14 home opener, and one big one is meant to keep fans safe. It’s all part of the city’s massive sports tourism package.
There are already poles and cables in place at the stadium that will soon hold netting mandated by Major League Baseball to be extended on both sides of the plate.
“We’re going to go about 150 feet out to third base, and we’ll go out about 180 feet directly behind me and to my left,” said Kevin Sourisseau, deputy director of the Department of Municipal Development.
The $250,000 safety upgrade, paid for by the Lodgers’ Tax, is just a part of the $1 million in improvements approved by city council back in October for the 17-year-old stadium. The rest of the funding is for behind-the-scenes upgrades, such as replacing heat pumps and HVAC systems.
Because the Isotopes now share their digs with New Mexico United, there are also upgrades for the soccer team, like storage for all their gear and easing the long lines to get into the sell-out matches.
“We may purchase a couple more metal detectors and work with Isotopes and management here to open another gate so that we can get people into the stadium a little faster,” Sourisseau explained.
Officials said fans can also expect to see the netting up during the soccer season.
“We’re looking at a more permanent netting,” Sourisseau said. “The challenges with trying to do something that is retractable and removable…there are a significant amount of costs with labor and equipment.”
KRQE News 13 asked the city if they’d consider adding bleachers or other temporary seating to the outfield for United matches since they have sell-outs often. They said that has not yet been discussed.