Paterson, NJ officials are floating a plan to repair historic Hinchliffe Stadium and make it the anchor of new development, but will have to make an aggressive push to get the proposal its proper approvals.
Paterson mayor Andre Sayegh recently unveiled a proposal to bring Hinchliffe Stadium back into working order, with the plan centered around making the shuttered Negro Leagues ballpark operational as a multipurpose venue. The goal is to make the repaired facility part of a $70-million project that includes new development in the surrounding area, with roughly 80 apartments, a restaurant, and 300-car parking garage among the amenities that would be constructed.
Football and soccer would be the primary uses of the repaired Hinchliffe Stadium, though occasional baseball exhibitions and track meets would take place. To accommodate these uses, it would receive an artificial turf field surrounded by a track, a field lighting system, a rebuilt and repaired seating bowl, and other upgrades. Moving the plan forward, however, is going to work quick action on the part of local officials. Both the Paterson Board of Education–which owns the facility–and the city council have to grant its approvals, and an application for a necessary $40 million state in tax credits has to be submitted by July 1. More from Paterson Press:
Besides the $40 million in credits earmarked for Hinchliffe, Mayor Andre Sayegh plans to use $30 million of the state funding for a new parking garage near the Paterson train station, which officials say will be connected to a new mixed-used development.
City officials also have said that another chunk of the tax credits will go towards the construction of a new visitors’ center at the Great Falls. With a July 1 application deadline looming for the tax credits, Sayegh has not yet revealed exactly how he plans to use the rest of the funding.
During Wednesday’s presentation, school board members raised a variety issues about the Hinchliffe proposal, including questions about the developers’ track records, misgivings about the limitations for baseball and track, and concerns about traffic and school overcrowding that the new housing might cause.
School board member Manny Martinez said the city should not “squander the opportunity” presented by the Hinchliffe proposal, saying the plan would provide a tremendous benefit to Paterson’s students.
The school board’s vote is slated for May 13, though there is no word on when the city council could make its decision. Hinchliffe Stadium opened in 1932 hosted both the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans along the way, but it closed in 1997 and has since fallen into a state of decline. Restoration efforts are notable in that Hinchliffe Stadium is one of the few Negro Leagues ballparks that remains standing.
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