A recent vote by Blair County commissioners allowed for the creation of a Peoples Natural Gas Field capital improvement fund. This should ensure future upgrades to the home of the Altoona Curve (Class AA; Eastern League).
Over the course of this summer, the Curve and the Eastern League stressed the need for a long-term plan to implement basic structural improvements to Peoples Natural Gas Field, which first opened in 1999. The end result is a partnership that will include Blair County, the Curve, ballpark owner Lakemont Partnership, and the Blair County Convention & Sports Facilities Authority.
In this case, each party will contribute an annual sum to the fund, with the Curve utilizing savings from a proposed tax cut on Logan Township’s admissions tax. The county, meanwhile, will redirect portions of its hotel tax revenue.
Set to be established in December, the fund will be controlled by a Ballpark Improvement Fund Committee that consists of appointees by the parties involved. More from the Altoona Mirror:
Commissioner Terry Tomassetti, who worked on the agreement on behalf of the county, said the vote requirement reflects a desire for the committee to reach a consensus on the proposed improvements.
The group is expected to meet at least twice a year and discuss proposed improvement plans for the stadium that would be viewed as capital expenses, such as the purchase and installation of a new elevator, field lighting, field replacement, replacement of the ticket booth and a heating, ventilating and air conditioning system.
The agreement sets a starting date of Dec. 1, 2016, with promised annual payments expected to be provided annually before the anniversary date in each of the next 10 years.
As stated in the agreement, Lozinak Professional Baseball pledged $60,000 annually, Lakemont Partnership pledged $25,000 annually and that the convention center and sports facilities authority has pledged $20,000 annually. The county’s commitment of bed tax revenue is expected to add to about $176,000 in 2017.
Earlier this year, it was reported that the Curve hoped to facilitate about $2.5 million in improvements through the plan.