After turning down a previous request from the team, Lancaster County Commissioners are presenting a reworked lease to the Lancaster Barnstormers (independent; Atlantic League).
Seeking relief on its annual $1.1 million rent for Clipper Magazine Stadium, Lancaster Baseball LLC–which owns the Barnstormers–proposed a restructured agreement in September. Under the terms of that proposal, the county would have contributed $650,000 in rent annually for nine years. In return, the Barnstormers would have exercised two options to extend the lease through 2034. Starting at the beginning of the first option, the Barnstormers would have paid the county back for its contribution.
Citing cost concerns, Lancaster County Commissioners never got behind that plan, and are now presenting a counter offer. The county would contribute $450,000 annually, and do so for six years as opposed to nine. The motion passed on a 2-1 vote, with commissioners chairman Dennis Stuckey explaining how the project would be financed. More from Lancaster Online:
Last month, Stuckey said that while the county recognized Lancaster Baseball LLC’s many positive impacts, from creating jobs to assisting charities to spurring economic development, the county budget was too tight to offer help with the rent.
But Tuesday, Stuckey disclosed he had found a potential solution after all.
He suggested the county come up with the rent-relief money by refinancing a 2009 bond issue. The lower interest rate would save the county $2.4 million, which the county could use to fund its share of the stadium rent.
Another solution that the county is apparently looking into is the use of funds from Pennsylvania’s City Revitalization & Improvement Zone (CRIZ) program. CRIZ funds can be used to cover ballpark improvements, but it remains to be seen it they are available for rent relief. The Barnstormers have not officially weighed in on the latest proposal.