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Skylands Park debt sold; Atlantic League interested in placing team there

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Atlantic League

In a fairly unimportant move, the tax lien on Skylands Park, the former home to pro baseball in New Jersey's Frankfort Township, has been sold; the real news is that Frank Boulton confirms interest in placing a team there in 2014.

It's no secret that the independent Atlantic League has been working on a scaled-down feeder league for 2014 and beyond, targeting markets like Atlantic City and Worcester (Mass.). You can add Skylands Park to the mix, as league CEO Boulton says he's toured Skylands Park recently and envisions a team there -- if it makes business sense:

“It’s a throwback place,” Boulton said, describing the stadium and its country surroundings. “It’s very quaint. I liked it a lot personally and could see it as a slice of Americana, but it still has to make business sense.

He said if the sale falls through, he would explore purchasing it with other investors.

“It’s a nice piece of clay and would fit the project we’re looking to roll out in 2014,” he continued. “At the end of the day, I’d like to bring baseball back to Sussex, but this is just the start of a dusty trail.”

Indeed. The big issue: sorting out the future of a ballpark where pro baseball first thrived with the New Jersey Cardinals (short season A; NY-Penn League) and then cratered with the Sussex Skyhawks (independent; Can-Am League). The ballpark's location in Sussex County is still rural, and development at Ross's Corner has not materialized.

Meanwhile, a local investor has purchased the tax lien on the ballpark for $159,946.23 at auction. Matt Milano says he has no interest in taking over the ballpark (something he couldn't do for two years, anyway); he bought the lien purely as an investment. Millennium Sports, the ballpark's owners, is in the process of selling Skylands Park (original asking price; $1.9M and then lowered to $1.5M; we hear the sales price is closer to $1M, with the need to settle the tax lien a reason for the diminished value). It will be up to the new owners to work out a deal with an Atlantic Leaugue feeder league team, and any lease should not be impacted by any liens on the ballpark itself.

RELATED STORIES: Future of Skylands Park in play; 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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