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R-Phils, Reading snare $5M grant for ballpark renovation

The proposed $10 million renovation of FirstEnergy Stadium will be helped along by a $5 million grant from the state of Pennsylvania.

The proposed $10 million renovation of FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Reading Phillies (Class AA; Eastern League), will be helped along by a $5 million grant from the state of Pennsylvania.

According to State Senator Michael A. O’Pake (D-11) and State Representative Dante Santoni (D-126), the FirstEnergy Stadium Renovation Project, under the state’s Redevelopment Capital Assistance Grant Program, is expected to create up to 200 construction jobs over the length of the project and help to retain at least 21 full-time and more than 300 seasonal jobs.

The state Redevelopment Capital Assistance Project is designed to support projects that have the potential to promote regional economic development and create and retain jobs by matching local funds with state grant aid.

"The Reading Phillies are an important part of the history, tradition, and heritage of Reading and Berks County and have a significant economic impact on our area, pumping more than $20 million annually into the local economy," said Senator O’Pake.

"FirstEnergy Stadium is a charming, fan friendly ballpark, but it is showing its age," added Senator O’Pake. This project is needed to address critical infrastructure needs at the stadium, as well as bring the park’s facilities up to present day standards for fan comfort and player development.

This investment of state funding will compliment funds committed by the City of Reading and the Reading Phillies to the project and will help ensure that the R-Phils continue to call Reading home for years to come,” said Representative Santoni. The Reading Phillies are one of the key attractions that draw tourists to our area and help make Reading and Berks County stand head and shoulders above other similarly-sized communities.”

"We are very thankful of the cooperation required to put this type of partnership together," said R-Phils General Manager Scott Hunsicker. "Senator Mike O’Pake & the Senate Caucuses, Representative Dante Santoni Jr. and the House Caucuses, Governor Ed Rendell, Reading Mayor Tom McMahon, and the members of Reading City Council, all came together and made this much needed stadium renovation project possible."

Hunsicker added, "The real winners are the fans, and the players. The improvements will bring this charming, historic ballpark, built in 1950, up to the the standards and expectations of fans that frequent sports venues. The players will also benefit from extensive clubhouse renovations which will help further their development as they strive for the Major Leagues. The project will enhance what is already America’s Classic Ballpark, and keep FirstEnergy Stadium and the Reading Phillies relevant in this region, and throughout the country."

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