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Keys: We want to stay in Frederick

Frederick KeysThe management of the Frederick Keys (High Class A; Carolina League) issued an open letter to local baseball fans today, calling for public support of the affiliated franchise at a time when the city is planning to let the lease to Harry Grove Stadium up for bid.

If the ballpark lease is put up to bid, it could open the way for an independent Atlantic League team to take over the market. So far most of the discussion has come from the Atlantic League side of the equation, with Peter Kirk (who built the ballpark as the original owner of the Keys) and Jack Lavoie the potential owner of the team)

Here’s the open letter from the team:

Hello Keys Fans,

This letter is written to inform you of our current lease for Harry Grove Stadium with the City of Frederick.

Over the last ten months through current lease negotiations, the Frederick Keys have wanted nothing more than to make a long-term commitment to the City of Frederick in the way of a long-term lease. We have pushed for this in each of our last three negotiations with the City of Frederick (2007, 2009 and 2011) but the City of Frederick has pushed for a short-term lease. In fact twice during the fall we believed we had reached an understanding on the terms of a long-term lease with the City of Frederick only to have the City take a step back.

In the past few weeks the Keys have signed a lease to keep the team in Frederick through the end of the 2011 season. The City of Frederick has decided however to issue a Request for Proposal that will open the stadium lease up for bids for future occupancy.

We are an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles meaning that all of our players are scouted, drafted and signed by the Orioles with Frederick a step in the ladder towards their big league dream. Since this is our territory, we are the only affiliated baseball team that may apply. The only other baseball teams that can submit an RFP would be that of an independent league which would not be affiliated with a major league organization.

This is our home.

The Frederick Keys have been a local passion as an Orioles affiliate here since 1989. In that time more than 100 players have gone from the Keys into the major leagues. We want nothing more than to see 100 more come through the ranks over the next two decades.

Below are some facts about our lease with the City of Frederick for Harry Grove Stadium and the impact Keys baseball makes on our area.

  • In the eight-team Carolina League the City of Frederick currently has a very favorable lease for a landlord.  The Frederick Keys currently pay the second highest rent in the league. The Frederick Keys are one of just two teams in the league who pay a ten percent admission tax. The Frederick Keys are one of four teams in our league that pays all of our stadium’s utilities.
  • The Frederick Keys have taken on over $1.6 million in stadium expenses from The City of Frederick in the last four years. These include the expenses of stadium maintenance and repairs, field expenses, utilities, relating operational staff expenses, and our own lease-holder improvements.
  • The Frederick Keys generate over $10 million in annual economic impact to Frederick which includes out-of-county attendee spending, team and players spending, facility spending, concessionaire spending, and non-baseball events.
  • The Frederick Keys pay nearly $500,000 annually in combined City/County/State taxes to include admission & amusement, sales & use, and withholding taxes.
  • The Frederick Keys community involvement is valued at nearly $400,000 annually which includes donations, appearances, ticket fundraisers, marketing opportunities, and various other programs and events.
  • The Frederick Keys are the highest drawing minor league baseball team in the State of Maryland drawing nearly 300,000 fans a year to Harry Grove Stadium. The Keys have never finished lower than third in league attendance in the 22-year history of the franchise.

At this time we ask our Keys family to reach out and contact our local officials to let them know you want Keys baseball to stay for future generations.

Randy McClement 301-600-1380

Board of Aldermen
Shelley Aloi       301-600-1632
Carol Krimm      301-600-1863
Michael O’Connor 301-600-1386
Kelly Russell      301-600-2966
Karen Young     301-600-1382

We promise to make the 2011 season a special one. Our ticket prices have stayed the same for a decade, our promotional schedule will be fresh and we will be debuting many new programs to make an evening at Harry Grove Stadium even more enjoyable for this upcoming summer. We look forward to 2011 and the many years beyond that we will share together here in our home — Frederick.

Dave Ziedelis
Frederick Keys General Manager

RELATED STORIES: Frederick: Affiliated team to have advantage in ballpark bidding ; Frederick to put ballpark lease to bid; Keys on market; Ballpark Visit: Harry Grove Stadium / Frederick Keys

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