A new clump of palm trees recently planted at the 110 Freeway entrance to Dodger Stadium is part of a larger off-season ballpark improvement project that includes new field entries, shops, food and drink areas.
The new landscaping and other projects are schedule to be completed in time for the season opener on April 4, according to a Dodger press release. The team has submitted plans to the city to construct the following facilities:
- Expansion of the entries at the Field level, enabling all fans with Pavilion, Dugout, Field, Loge and Club tickets to enter the convenient entrances on the north side of the stadium. These new entries will also house new team stores and concessions and memorabilia to celebrate the team history, including its famous seasons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as its five-plus decades in Los Angeles.
- Seating and lounging areas at bars and drink rails overlooking the bullpens in the outfield, giving focus to pitchers warming up as well as infield game views.
- New food services with outdoor grills and specialty fare such as Tommy Lasorda’s Italian and hot-off-the-grill BBQ, areas where the Hall of Fame manager and other former players will spend time with fans.
- An expansion of the popular Reserve Level “La Taqueria” stand near the kids play area at the left field Reserve entry.
- Relocating the visiting team clubhouse to an area near the visiting team dugout at field level so that all visiting team areas are in a single new area adjacent to the batting tunnel, conditioning room and training area built in newly created space in 2013.
The palms that were planted at the 110 Freeway entrance – known as the Downtown Gate – were among 33 trees that were relocated from other parts of the ballpark grounds, said Dodgers Senior Vice President of Planning and Development Janet Marie Smith in a post on the Dodger Insider blog. Smith provided more details about the Dodgers’ landscaping strategy:
“Not a tree was lost during construction,” Smith said. “We’ve moved some of them to the downtown gate, so that we’d have a more dramatic entrance at the 110, and we’ve moved others to the Top Deck, so the downtown skyline is framed by this ‘very L.A.’ landscape. Every tree and plant was lovingly moved to a new home on the Dodger Stadium site.
“The idea in all of these new plazas has been to bring the greenery of Elysian Park into Dodger Stadium. As more teams have moved into an urban setting, it makes Dodger Stadium, carved into the hillside of Chavez Ravine and surrounded by the San Gabriel Mountains and all these palm trees, that much more special. So we are trying to enhance that feature and make a big thing out of that landscaping. We looked at saving these trees, boxing them up and moving them back to their original location. But we decided that was not nearly as smart as using the same amount of money to move them to a new home and to buy new plant material for the renovated areas. Not only does this double the number of trees, but gives them a better chance of survival.”