On March 9, the Orlando City Council will vote to celebrate our history by designating Tinker Field as an Orlando Historic Landmark. With the designation, the City of Orlando would remove the grandstands and repurpose Tinker Field to maintain the historic field but allow the space to be used for festivals and other community events.
Let me explain why this is the most responsible way for us, as a City, to celebrate our history.
As we have discussed at City Council, the reconstruction of the Orlando Citrus Bowl impacted the footprint of Tinker Field. As the design of the Citrus Bowl was finalized the footprint of the stadium expanded beyond the original footprint into the outfield of Tinker Field. As this became apparent, our City of Orlando staff had to consider the future of Tinker Field, a city-owned and operated venue. City Staff undertook a due diligence process to identify options for the future of Tinker Field. This process resulted in the following key findings:
- Baseball was no longer the primary use of Tinker Field, in fact, there has not been a revenue-generating baseball team since 1999. The major revenue-generating events at Tinker Field are now concerts and festivals.
- The 80-year-old facility needs significant work in order to meet current codes and safety standards. The City of Orlando engaged Walter P. Moore to do a structural analysis of Tinker Field grandstands and found the necessary work needed includes replacement of sanitary lines from the 1930s, electrical upgrades, improved stormwater drainage and structural improvements would cost approximately $10 million.
- There were a number of significant events that occurred at Tinker Field in the last 80 years that should be commemorated.
Additionally, the City is engaging the Well’s Built Museum and former Executive Director of the Orange County Regional History Center Sara Van Arsdel to research and identify all the historic events and activities that took place at Tinker Field. Once identified, they will work with District 5 City Commissioner Regina Hill and the rest of the Orlando City Council to develop a historic marker and/or a display for the site that recognizes the significant events. A timetable for this activity has not yet been finalized.
On March 9, the Orlando City Council will consider the ordinance proposing to designate Tinker Field an Orlando Historic Landmark. This will include a presentation from staff and provide the opportunity for further public comment. To date, there have been two City Council meetings where detailed information on Tinker Field has been presented to the Council and to the public.
– Buddy Dyer, Mayor