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Friday, Aug 22nd

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Future of Skylands Park in play

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New Jersey Cardinals

The future of pro ball at Frankfort's Skylands Park should be made a little clearer in coming days, but it could take a few years to sort out the ballpark's ownership and operating status.

The former home of the New Jersey Cardinals (short season A; NY-Penn League) and Sussex Skyhawks (independent; Can-Am League) is in the process of being sold (for a price close to $1 million, we hear) before it goes on the auction block for nonpayment of property taxes. Kinda: what's being sold is the 2011 tax lien certificate of $57,277.43, and the buyer of a lien has two years to take possession of the ballpark if the lien is not paid

The two moves aren't mutually exclusive: any buyer would be closing with full knowledge that back taxes need to be paid. But the combination of a new owner and a new lienholder (likely a bank) certainly makes for a complicated situation in coming years. Skylands Park has been mentioned as a potential home to pro baseball in the form of a 2014 Atlantic League feeder circuit startup; the lack of certainty and predictability in the Skylands Park ownership situation would certainly cause any smart operator pause as they plan their investments for coming years. Why put any money at all into a facility that could end up changing hands in a year -- or may not even be around at all?

In any case, we're guessing there's a strong feeling of Schadenfreude among some owners; the ballpark's owner, Millennium Sports Management, Inc., was widely regarded as being very difficult to work with, both on leases and daily operations.

RELATED STORIES: Atlantic League: Big plans for 2014 and beyond; Skylands Park on block; baseball unlikely for 2012; Taxes becoming huge issue for Skylands Park; Skyhawks to go dark?

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