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Paterson moves forward on Hinchliffe Stadium renovation

Folks in New Jersey seem pretty optimistic about the prospects of renovating historic Hinchliffe Stadium, once home to the New York Black Yankees.

November was a good month for Hinchliffe Stadium, the historic 77-year-old facility in Paterson, N.J. badly in need of some TLC.

On Nov. 3, voters approved a nonbinding referendum by a wide, wide margin — 3,433 to 891 — to pay for a renovation of the former home of the New York Black Yankees via bond. The proposal would use $13.8 in bond proceeds for the renovation.

The next steps: Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres says he'll apply to the state for bonding and seek out proposals from designers and architects, though we're guessing a few reading this story will take the initiative to work on a $13.8 million renovation job. There are some other procedural hurdles, as the stadium is owned by the school district; the city must also sign off on any plan, so there will undoubtedly be another round of politicking in the future.

The blueprint for Hinchliffe backers: the renovation of Rickwood Field, the historic ballpark in Birmingham, Ala., celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2010. 

You can read more about the 9,200-seat Hinchliffe Stadium on our Endangered Ballparks page. The facility, besides hosting Black Yankees games, also briefly hosted minor-league baseball (the Paterson Blue Jays), football and stock-car racing. It's billed as only one of four surviving facilities to host Negro League games (along with Rickwood and Indianapolis's Bush Stadium), but we're guessing the actual number is larger: there are facilities like Phil Welch Stadium in St. Joseph, Mo., that was a regular stop for barnstorming Negro Leagues teams.

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