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Money Remaining from Settlement to Fund PNC Field Improvements

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRidersFollowing a settlement in a case concerning the sale of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Class AAA; International League), some remaining funds will be set aside for PNC Field upgrades.

Lackawanna County and Luzerne County had been engaged in a legal dispute over the $14.6 million received after the sale of then Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees to SWB Yankees LLC. Lackawanna County had claimed that it should receive all of the proceeds because it had maintained PNC Field to the tune of $20 million, while Luzerne County countered that it should receive 50% of the sale price because it originally contributed half of the funds to acquire the franchise and construct the ballpark.

In late June, we noted that the years-long dispute was finally approaching a settlement in which Luzerne County would receive $4 million instead of the $7.3 million it had been seeking. Some of the remaining funds that had been set aside for a settlement, to the tune of $3 million, will be reserved for improvements to PNC Field.

The plan is for half of that total ($1.5 million) to be paid into a capital improvement fund now, with the remaining $1.5 million gradually placed into the fund over a three-year period. More from The Times-Tribune:

The Lackawanna County Stadium Authority agreed to pay Lackawanna County $14.6 million when the franchise was sold to erase prior liabilities, but, during the $43 million renovation that closed the stadium in 2012, Lackawanna County paid the $14.6 million back to the stadium authority — in the form of a $7.3 million grant and a $7.3 million loan — so the stadium authority could pay vendors as it waited for state grant money to surface.

After receiving the grant funding, the authority repaid Lackawanna County in 2015, about $5.6 million of the original $7.3 million loan, enabling Lackawanna County to pay the $4 million settlement now and provide an initial $1.5 million deposit into the improvement fund.

With $1.7 million still owed on the loan, the authority will repay an additional $1.5 million in $500,000 annual increments for the next three years. In turn, the county will write a $500,000 check each year to the stadium authority — returning the money so it, too, can be deposited into the capital improvement fund.

The rest will be used to cover legal fees and litigation costs accrued during the seven-year legal battle.

PNC Field originally opened as Lackawanna County Stadium in 1989, and was shut down for the entirety of the 2012 season so that a major renovation project could be completed in time for the 2013 season.

RELATED STORIES: Battle Over SWB RailRiders Close to SettlementLuzerne/Lackawanna Litigation to Drag Into 2017Year after RailRiders debut; SWB counties still in legal fightRailRiders ownership spat likely to go to courtPNC Field renovation continues, but court battle for Yankees loomsSale, ballpark issues for SWB Yankees settledLuzerne County: SWB Yankees worth at least $25 million

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