Under a new plan from Paterson, NJ mayor Andre Sayegh, Hinchliffe Stadium would receive $18.7 million in repairs to reopen as a facility for sporting events.
Hinchfliffe Stadium is a historic ballpark that opened in 1932 and was used for Negro Leagues action during periods of its run, but it closed in 1997 and has since fallen into a state of decline. Local officials and supporters of a restoration have sought to repair and reopen the facility for years, and a proposal from Sayegh is intended to boost that effort.
As part of his plan, the ballpark would receive an $18.7 million overhaul that includes an artificial turf field, a field lighting system, a rebuilt seating bowl, and other upgrades. The field would be designed to accommodate baseball, soccer, and football, with a six-lane synthetic running track around the playing surface also included in the plans. While Sayegh’s pitch would go a long way in the effort to get the ballpark into working order, there are still uncertainties at this point. Hinchfliffe Stadium is not owned by the city but instead falls under the control of the Paterson school district, meaning that the two entities would have to collaborate on the initiative. In addition, officials still have to pin down a funding source for the upgrades. More from the Paterson Press:
Public documents show that Sayegh’s staff is looking to rebuild the stadium in conjunction with other projects in the surrounding neighborhood. But city officials have declined to reveal details about the other proposed developments, saying those remain in negotiations, nor have they disclosed the names of the developers involved.
The city has not yet decided how to pay for the project, said Paterson’s economic development director, Michael Powell. One possibility would be to use some of the remaining $100 million in development tax credits that the state awarded Paterson several years ago, he said.
But the tax credits have restrictions that would not allow them to be used directly for construction at Hinchliffe, Powell said. Instead, the state funding would have to be part of a financing plan with developers doing other projects in the surrounding area, he said.
“It’s very complicated,” said Powell.
Hinchliffe Stadium hosted both the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans along the way. Restoration efforts are notable in that Hinchliffe Stadium is one of the few Negro Leagues ballparks that remains standing.
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