On Monday, the Aberdeen City Council confirmed its plan to attempt to sell Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, home of the Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season A; NY-Penn League).
In October, the city announced its intention to sell Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium after Tufton Professional Baseball LLC, the entity that owns the IronBirds, reportedly declined an offer to purchase the ballpark. Since then, the city has approved a contract with a firm to study the “useful life” of the facility and took another vote on Monday. As part of that decision, the city council unanimously affirmed its intention to sell the ballpark and seek a potential buyer.
Citing the remaining debt service on the ballpark and the maintenance costs the city has assumed, the council voted to move forward with the sale process. More from The Aegis:
The debt service on the stadium, according to budget figures the city made available at Monday’s meeting, has ranged from $599,859 in 2013 and $599,656 in 2017 while staying at about $596,000 the three years in between.
During that same five-year period, stadium revenue has been at least $263,957 and not more than $400,280. That does not include about $600,000 annually in room tax revenue that was to go specifically toward the stadium costs, or money the state contributed to recent repair projects.
The state contributed $450,000 toward the $633,535 in maintenance for 2014 and $493,590 of last year’s $1,083,114 handrail and concrete replacement.
The mayor and city council repeated earlier claims that its mission is to get a better deal for Aberdeen.
Any sale or new agreement “should address the economic good of our community,” Councilwoman Sandra Landbeck said. “We should hope that [any new owners] are looking to retain the IronBirds and not kick them out.”
One issue between the city and the IronBirds has concerned the licensing agreement for the facility. An agreement that runs through December 31 calls for Tufton Baseball, LLC to manage non-IronBird related events at the ballpark, while keeping revenues and paying the city an annual licence fee, which currently stands at $95,000. The two sides have been unable to come to an agreement, meaning that it could ultimately revert back to seeing the city manage non-baseball events once the current deal expires.
For the next step in the process, the city council will have a discussion with the city’s bond counsel next week to address the remaining financing on the ballpark. It is also expected that the council will select a firm to market the facility.