Despite projections that revenues from a new Manchester, N.H. ballpark for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Class AA; Eastern League) would be enough to cover debt, they’re not, so residents are paying the difference.
When planned in 2006 and 2007, debt service for Northeast Delta Dental Stadium was projected to be covered by rent from the Fisher Cats as well as property taxes from development at the ballpark site. Some of that development happened (a hotel), some was delayed (residential) and some failed to materialize (retail). Because of the development that failed to materialize, the debt service on the new ballpark required city officials to use general funds to cover bond payments — the worst nightmare of every public official supporting public financing of a new ballpark.
One thing is for sure: the blame cannot be placed on the Fisher Cats. The team pays $919,013 annually on the ballpark lease, which is the highest rent in the Eastern League and one of the highest rents in all of baseball. The total debt service is $1,940,000, and the city covered a $567,034 shortfall for 2010-2011. That’s expected to continue.
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