The New York Comptroller’s Office says Ramapo (N.Y.) taxpayers could be on the hook for $60 million to pay off Provident Bank Park, not the projected $39 million.
The ballpark is the home of the Rockland Boulders (independent; Can-Am League).
Financing for the ballpark has been embroiled in controversy since day one. Voters initially rejected the notion of public funding of a ballpark via referendum, but city officials decided anyway to move ahead with ballpark construction, using the Ramapo Local Development Corp. as the vehicle for financing and construction. Mingling city funds with redevelopment funds was criticized by the comptroller’s office in its audit.
The other issue — and one we raised — is how the city planned on paying down $7 million in debt over five years via profits generated by the ballpark. The Boulders are not be paying nearly that in rent, and there’s little chance an independent Can-Am team can generate enough revenue to show $1-million-plus in profits annually solely for debt relief. (Especially a team drawing 2,800 fans a game.) Plus, the city had a tentative deal with the New York Yankees to bring in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Class AAA; International League) for 2012 and a Class A Sally League team for 2013 and beyond — reportedly the Hagerstown Suns — but that deal collapsed after multiple territorial objections. While some of the objections could have been easily addressed, opposition from the New York Mets ownership killed that plan. Under that proposed plan, though, there would have been little room in the lease to generate $7 million to address ballpark debt.
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