Friday, September 18, 2020

Bravo Bonfield!

Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield retires at month’s end. His twelve year tenure in the Bull City caps a career that spanned forty-two years of local government service. He was surprised with a Zoom tribute this afternoon.

Here’s what I offered:

Thank you, Tom, for your personal support of...

The Miracle League project and recreation for special needs kids. You “got it” from the very beginning, and the City did a half million dollars in utility work to get the site ready at Morehead and Blackwell. I predict, finally, an “opening day” next spring at the new Miracle League Field in downtown Durham, and you will be an honored guest.

Creation of the Durham Sports Commission five years ago. We’ve sponsored and hosted the first marathon in Durham, a national youth track meet and the ACC baseball championships...and we’re even doing eSports tournaments during the pandemic.

Looking back, 7-8 years ago...

You worked with the Bulls on a new 30 yr lease for the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and that triggered extensive stadium renovations.

In 2009 the historic DAP was renovated, saving that facility for recreation and preserving the legacy of “Bull Durham” and baseball in Durham.

Both NC Central and Duke now play baseball in downtown Durham because of these enhanced facilities, and the Long Ball program for at-risk kids is based at the DAP.

Most everyone knows you played baseball (in the Yankees farm system.) It’s been great to have you as a fan, but more importantly, to work with you professionally. You are analytical, the straightest of straight shooters, steady, remarkably above politics and a solid administrator. You have been a leader worth following! 

Thanks for you many contributions to Durham, especially to the renaissance of our downtown. Godspeed in your retirement!