Members of the Lodi community are invited to walk, run, kick or throw a ball, or simply view the new all-weather turf at the Lodi Grape Bowl from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, the first time the revamped facility will be open to the public.
Not only is the Grape Bowl open house an opportunity for visitors to examine the new field, but the 70-year-old stadium will be illuminated by new and brighter energy-efficient lights funded through a federal grant.
“I’m thrilled we’re ready to show off Lodi’s new, first-class facility,” said James Rodems, interim director of Lodi’s Parks and Recreation Department. “Anyone attending the open house will recognize the Grape Bowl has been renewed as a community hub for sports and entertainment.”
Access to the field during the free open house will be through the northeast gate, connected to the parking lot on the north side of the stadium reached via Stockton Street.
In the coming days, contractors will put the finishing touches on ramps leading from the playing surface to the bleachers, ending more than five months of construction at the stadium. A high school football playoff game is tentatively scheduled to be played at the Grape Bowl on Friday, Nov. 12.
Future planned improvements include permanent restroom facilities and concession stand, and replacing and adding new seating. The Save the Grape Bowl Campaign, organized in 2007, is soliciting donations to help pay for the projects. Waste Management this year agreed to pay $1 million toward Grape Bowl projects in return for a franchise extension, but the cost of needed improvements exceeds that amount.
“This phase of work may be done, but there’s plenty more to do,” Rodems said.
The open house is sponsored by the City of Lodi’s Parks and Recreation Department and the Save the Grape Bowl Campaign. For more information, including ways to donate toward future Grape Bowl improvements, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (209) 333-6742, or visit www.savethegrapebowl.org.