The Yakima Valley Pippins are within two months of Opening Day, and as the club gets ready to bring baseball back to Yakima County Stadium, the organization has finalized plans for season one improvements to the ballpark.

"We are excited to get a shovel in the ground and get started," general manager Danny Tetzlaff said in announcing the plans. "These first rounds of improvements will take a very good, functional ballpark and start the process of preparing it for the next 20 years of activity."

This season, the stadium will see a six-figure investment of privately funded improvements aimed at improving customer service efficiency, upgrading the safety of areas where fans gather at the park and enhancing overall aesthetics.

Projects for 2014 include:

1. Fully integrating the wireless network on a fiber backbone, with free wi-fi channels open to the public at the stadium. This will also make media coverage easier as anyone with wi-fi will be able to connect to fast upload and download speeds.
2. Remodeling the first base picnic area and the group deck, with more than 1,500 square feet of additional space for cooking and picnicking.
3. Remodeling the team store to make it more open and welcoming.
4. Putting up signs to guide fans — especially new ones — through the stadium and highlight the Yakima community’s brand. Plans include large murals to draw positive attention to the ballpark and the history of baseball in Yakima.
5. Adding fresh paint — and lots of it. New coats are in the works for the box office, the concession stands and the outfield walls as the Pippins try to refresh the look of the game environment.
6. Upgrading the third-base bar with concrete, seats and tables mere feet from the third base line.
7. Installing a wireless-waiter Point of Sale system, enabling select fans to order and pay for food, soft drinks and beer without ever leaving their seats.
8. Updating the overall landscaping to make the park more inviting.

These are the first steps in a multiyear plan that will restore Yakima County Stadium to a place that team owners hope will entice friends and families to gather for championship-caliber, community-based baseball — and for other community events.

The Pippins are working with local service contractors to do much of the contract work — including DJ Turner Construction, Alliant Technologies and Advanced Digital Imaging. The majority of the work should be completed in time for WIAA baseball in late May, with work on schedule for the Pippins’ June 6 home opener.