Dodgers hire Janet Marie Smith, announce imminent renovation plans

Move over, Wrigley Field, there’s a new stadium renovation plan in town: The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ new ownership group took a major leap forward yesterday on talks about renovating Dodger Stadium by hiring Janet Marie Smith, the woman who oversaw the design of Camden Yards and the renovation of Fenway Park, among other things, to do an overhaul of the 50-year-old stadium.

“Dodger Stadium is a treasured piece of the Los Angeles community and a special place where I watched more than a dozen games per season when I lived in L.A. during the early 1980s,” said Smith in a press release. “It’s important to all of us that we restore and enhance the park in a way that honors its heritage and highlights its distinctive appeals, while still capturing what fans want and franchises need in a modern venue.”

From the sound of things, Smith will be overseeing a similar “phased construction” type deal as Fenway Park underwent over several offseasons. Reports the L.A. Times:

“We’re on an aggressive timeline,” [Dodgers president Stan] Kasten said. “We would like to do as much as we can by Opening Day next year. I suspect what we’ll have in place is going to be more than a one-year program. It’s going to take several years, probably, to do all the things we want. But our goal certainly is to do a lot of this by next year.” …

Kasten said Smith liked the “retro, ’50s feel” of Dodger Stadium and changes would be incorporated into its current design, much as was accomplished at Fenway.

“If you really look at it with a microscope, [Fenway is] very different than it was 10 years ago, but you don’t notice it,” Kasten said. “It feels the same. I think that’s a good goal.”

No pricetag yet for the renovations, but presumably the Dodgers owners will be footing the bill. It’s always possible that they’ll try to apply for federal historic preservation tax credits as the Red Sox did for Fenway; it’s weird to think of Dodger Stadium as “historic” since it was opened the same year Ringo Starr joined the Beatles, but then, Ringo is pretty historic these days, too.

One comment on “Dodgers hire Janet Marie Smith, announce imminent renovation plans

  1. Glad to see the Dodgers pursuing the renovation route at Dodger Stadium. It’s worked wonderfully for the Red Sox and it’ll work even better at Dodger Stadium given it’s a half century newer. Unlike most of its contemporaries Dodger Stadium has always been a nice place to see a game and was always designed with baseball in mind. It would be a waste to tear it down when it has so much room to improve it at the site.