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Manchester Approves Ballpark Upgrades

New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Some upgrades are on tap at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Class AA; Eastern League) successfully requested a nearly $1,000,000 pledge from the city.

Manchester, NH officials have voted to commit $948,000 in work to the ballpark. Most of the money is going to two major areas the Fisher Cats wanted to address, with a new playing surface to be into place along with a state-of-the-art fire suppression system. The City is also planning to convert land it owns near the ballpark into additional parking spaces.

For its commitment, Manchester was able to rework some of the ballpark lease language. In the event that the Fisher Cats would leave the market before their lease expires in 2028, the team will be on the hook for an additional $9 million on the principal balance for the city’s bonds that were used on the ballpark. Currently, half of the $18 million that is left on the principal is to paid through the Fisher Cats’ yearly payments to the city.

As it is, Fisher Cats owner Art Solomon says he has no intention of moving the team and has provided a framework for a deal that fund could future improvements, effectively keeping the Fisher Cats at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium beyond their current commitment. More from the New Hampshire Union Leader:

The team currently pays a $730,000 rent-like payment plus another $167,627 a year to cover stadium building costs it agreed to pay beyond the $25 million stadium project.

Solomon offers to pay the city $500,000 a year in rent beginning from 2029 to 2035, if city officials will commit to earmark half that amount for a capital reserve fund to be used for stadium maintenance.

Under Solomon’s proposal, for the next five years, if the stadium capital reserve fund doesn’t cover capital expenditure costs for any given year, the team will fund any additional money required.

After five years, if capital reserve funds come up short for any year, the additional funding needed will be split 50-50 between the city and team “after both parties agree on the need.”

The vote for the ballpark upgrades from The Board of Mayor and Alderman was unanimous. Northeast Delta Dental Stadium first opened for the Fisher Cats in 2005.

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