The Rockland Boulders (independent; Can-Am League) and Ramapo, NY officials are trying to get more revenue from Palisades Credit Union Park, with a league change and more ballpark uses among their options.
Issues with the initial financing of Palisades Credit Union Park have long been a source of controversy. Former town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence is serving a 30-month sentence after being convicted on securities-fraud charges. Specifically, the argument is that he and other city officials misstated the city’s financial state and the potential sources of revenue to repay bonds issued by the nonprofit Ramapo Local Development Corporation (PLDC). Those bonds were used to finance construction of the ballpark.
Despite that controversy, the Boulders have had some success during their existence, but the city and the team are seeking ways to boost revenues to cover expenses. Under the lease agreement between the two sides, the Boulders pay $150,000 annually in rent plus a share of revenue from sources such as ticket, parking, merchandise, and food and beverage sales. That agreement gave the city $445,000 last year, but that revenue and proceeds from other ballpark events were not enough to offset roughly $2.4 million in expenses.
In order to improve the current financial situation, both Ramapo and Boulders are considering measures that could boost ballpark revenues. For the city, this could mean naming a consultant to explore more uses for the ballpark, while the Boulders continue to consider a move to another circuit in order to create more game dates. More from the Journal News:
Town officials say they are trying make the best of a difficult situation, by wringing as much revenue out of the stadium as they can. They’re considering hiring a consultant to come up with new uses for the stadium, possibly a professional soccer team.
“We have to deal with the reality,” said town Supervisor Michael Specht. “We’re looking for opportunities.”
To aid the effort, Boulders President Shawn Reilly is pushing for a split from the Can-Am League in an effort to expand the number of home dates beyond the current 54, while signing more big-name players to attract more fans.
“We like the Can-Am League and the quality of play is really great,” Reilly said. “But not being able to get those major-league players hurts us in this market being 30 miles from Yankee Stadium. The fans in this market, they expect the best of the best. They go see the Yankees. They go to Broadway… We want to be the New York Yankees of independent baseball.”
The Boulders have played in the Can-Am League since they started play in 2011, but the team’s interest in a potential switch to the independent Atlantic League surfaced publicly this spring. The Atlantic League currently features eight teams, including seven clubs and the Road Warriors, a travel team. The High Point Rockers will replace the Road Warriors in 2019, when they begin play at the new BB&T Point ballpark in downtown High Point.