Atlanta’s Turner Field, home to Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves, is what many refer to as a great, nostalgic game-day experience.
Most fans enter the ballpark from the main plaza, located in center field. The area is a celebration of Atlanta and Southern baseball with statues of former Braves greats Hank Aaron and Phil Niekro and local legend Ty Cobb. In the Scouts Alley area, visitors encounter a magnolia tree and plaque honoring the Minor League Atlanta Crackers.
Once inside the stadium, fan attention is focused on the game. Many fans say Turner Field combines the atmosphere of old-time baseball with state-of-the-art family entertainment. This includes the BravesVision 29-foot-by-38-foot video board, the PlazaVision 17-foot-by-22-foot video board, 500 television monitors and superior sound systems.
While the Turner Field grounds crew meticulously maintains the field of play, there’s more to the presentation at Turner Field than just the baseball diamond.
That’s where HighGrove Partners comes in. Since 2011, we have been the official landscaper of the Atlanta Braves and Turner Field .
A love and understanding of the sport, an in-depth knowledge of the team’s schedule and meticulous attention to detail are what keep the field’s surrounding landscape looking its best.
Originally built as the 85,000-seat track-and-field Centennial Olympic Stadium in 1996, Turner Field was the centerpiece of the 1996 Summer Olympics. The stadium was converted to a baseball park the next year and became The Braves’ permanent home, as well as an Atlanta landmark and a benchmark for future baseball park design.
HighGrove Partners, in its second year of a three-year contract, maintains everything outside of the actual ballpark .
HighGrove’s landscape maintenance team keeps the Turner Field walkways and ground cover clear of debris. The team has also been focused on raising the tree canopies.
This involves turf and planting beds around the stadium, including more than 100 trees, as well as 10 parking lots and their accompanying landscaping. Weekly maintenance includes keeping turf and plant materials neat, trimmed and weed-free.
Each year, Turner Field also saves some of its landscape maintenance budget for upgrades to keep the landscaping fresh. Last year, HighGrove focused on tree pruning and canopy raising, which had been neglected prior to HighGrove coming on board.
During the busy baseball season, with home and away games, there are some weeks where the team is home for seven days and then gone for 10 days at a time, and some games are at 1 p.m. in the afternoon, while others are at 7 p.m. in the evening. So HighGrove Client Relations Manager Ryan Gardiner has to stay on top of The Braves’ schedule and keep crews abreast of when to perform maintenance work so the landscape is ready come game time.
There are also some games that are more important than others because they draw additional fans and attention, such as the home opener or when The Braves play The New York Mets or the Philadelphia Phillies.
“We have to make sure the stadium looks nice for every home game, but particularly these games because they are significant to the team,” Gardiner says. “Building a good relationship with The Braves means understanding and meeting the needs of the ballpark.”
Maintaining Turner Field comes with its own set of challenges. Because of the extraordinary amount of traffic on the site – 40,000 people there on any given day – keeping turf areas neat and clean takes some extra work.
In some cases, foot traffic is so great that HighGrove has been proactive in suggesting alternative paving options, such as rubber mulch or pavers to provide professional and attractive areas that can withstand the heavy foot traffic.
HighGrove conducts continuing education courses at Turner Field for groups of real estate professionals.
While maintaining the Atlanta Braves’ field of play may be challenging at times, the perks far outweigh the busy moments. As a Turner Field partner, HighGrove Partners receives a certain number of game tickets each year, as well as access to the building’s meeting spaces for client entertainment and to conduct our real estate courses.
Next time you go to Turner Field for a good, old-fashioned game of baseball, remember to budget a little extra time for wandering the immaculately groomed grounds and soak in the entire ballpark experience.
Building a good relationship with The Braves means understanding and meeting the needs of the ballpark.
Ryan Gardiner, CRM
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