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Tuesday, Jul 22nd

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Paterson moves forward with Hinchliffe Stadium renovation

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Hinchliffe Stadium

A renovation of Hinchliffe Stadium, former home to Negro League baseball in New Jersey, will move forward after the Paterson City Council approved a design and construction contract.

It's not a full renovation of the ballpark, which opened in the early 1930s and served as home to the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans. Instead, the ballpark's deterioration will be halted with some preventative maintenance work, and the front gates will be restored. A full restoration would cost upwards of $15 million, so this $338,000 contract is merely a start. From NorthJersey.com:

The City Council Tuesday night unanimously approved the contract with Wank Adams Slavin Associates of New York City. The firm was one of nine that submitted proposals for the job. Its price was the second lowest in a field of bids that ranged from $267,000 to $520,000. The Wank Slavin proposal was ranked the highest by [city public works director Christopher] Coke and the city's Historic Preservation director, Gianfranco Archimede, in an evaluation of the nine submissions.

Coke said the New York firm has been directed to provide a "quick turnaround" so the the actual construction can start as soon as possible. The purpose of the project is two-fold, he said. Part of the work will provide the stabilization so the walls of the stadium do not continue to deteriorate. The other part will cover the rehabilitation of the area around the two ticket booths, he said.

"It's kind of like a demonstration project,'' Coke said, explaining that the goal was to restore that part of the stadium as a way of attracting investors to do the rest of the work.

There are precious few old ballparks once hosting Negro League games. By our reckoning, Phil Welch Stadium in St. Joseph, Mo.; Jack Brown Stadium in Jamestown, N.D.; Cardines Field in Newport, R.I.; Engel Stadium in Chattanooga; Point Stadium in Johnstown, Penn.; Durkee Field in Jacksonville; Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown, Md.; McCormick Field in Asheville, N.C.; and Rickwood Field in Birmingham all were home to Negro Leagues teams to some degree or another.

RELATED STORIES: Hinchliffe Stadium receives landmark status, but recovery far from assured; Hinchliffe Stadium up for National Historic Landmark status; Hinchliffe Stadium up for $500,000 preservation grant

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