LECOM Park is the spring home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the full time home of their Class-A affiliate, the Bradenton Marauders. The park was originally built in 1923. It has been renovated several times over the years, including major upgrades in 2013, to become one of baseball's finest facilities.
The centerpiece of the 2013 renovations was a 19,000 square foot boardwalk spanning the outfield. Updates also included new group areas with enhanced sight lines to the field, expanded restroom facilities, new concessions locations and an enlarged Fan Plaza. Massive palm trees now dot the landscape, augmenting the charm of the 90-year-old stadium. The Boardwalk Barbeque Area, located on the boardwalk in the right field area, gives groups of 25 or more the chance to enjoy an all-you-can eat pregame picnic in full view of the field. On the opposite side of the ballpark, the LaPensee Plumbing, Pools & Air Party Deck features a high-end catering menu and an incredible vantage point to watch the game. In addition, every individual reserved seat was removed from the park, and 4,600 new, more comfortable seats were installed. And new covered bleachers with 570 seats were added in left field, expanding LECOM Park's capacity to more than 8,500.
"This project speaks to the strength of our partnership with Bradenton and Manatee County," said Pirates Chairman of the Board Bob Nutting. "It is a partnership of that, I believe, is the strongest in Major League Baseball thanks to the local leadership of Mayor Poston, the City Council, the County Commission, Tourist Development Council, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority and, most importantly, the support of the Bradenton community."
In 2006, the city of Bradenton received a grant from the state of Florida to upgrade the Pirates' Spring Training facilities. The upgrades include lights and a new visitor's clubhouse at LECOM Park and new offices, dormitories, renovations to the minor league clubhouse and a fifth practice field at the minor league complex.
LECOM Park renovations from 1991-93 included new grounds, wide access ramps, concession stands, kiosks and improved sight lines, all while maintaining a ballpark's classic ambiance. The palm-tree lined park was integrated into the already 1920s Spanish-mission style by using masonry, stucco and structural steel materials. LECOM Park was even pulled back from the street, allowing for the creation of a public plaza and walkway around the park. Inside McKechnie, fans moved closer to the field by expanding seating capacity from approximately 4,200 seats to more than 6,500 seats.
The ballpark was orignally named McKechnie Field, in honor of Pittsburgh native, former Bradenton resident and Hall of Fame manager Bill McKechnie. The new name, LECOM Park, was announced on February 10, 2017.
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