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City Council Not Backing Hinchliffe Stadium Plan Yet

Hinchliffe Stadium

A proposal to repair Paterson, NJ’s Hinchliffe Stadium does not yet have support from the city council, with members requesting more information on the plan. 

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 for the repaired facility to be 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.

That is one of the several proposals eyeing a share of $130 million in state tax credits slated for Paterson development initiatives, and city officials are weighing several pitches for tax credits ahead of a July 1 filing deadline. The Hinchliffe Stadium proposal calls for $40 million in tax credits, but the city council indicated this week that it needs more information before deciding whether to throw its support behind the plan. Among the sticking points is the lease arrangement for Hinchliffe Stadium, as the facility is owned by the Paterson Board of Education but leased by the city. In order to make the restoration plan viable, the city needs to secure a longer lease with the school board, but has not done so thus far. More from the Paterson Press:

“The project is just not ready,” said City Council President Maritza Davila. “We have lot of questions and we haven’t gotten the answers yet.”

In particular, Davila said, the council committee wanted to know what impact the project have on the city base….

The city is leasing Hinchliffe from the school district and Sayegh’s plans require an extension of that lease, officials said. The school board initially had planned to vote on the revised lease on Monday night, but pulled the item from its agenda because it had not received information it had requested from the city, officials said.

The Paterson planning board was scheduled to review the Hinchliffe project on Wednesday night. But municipal economic development director Michael Powell said that presentation will wait until after the school board and city council sign off.

The push for tax credits has become competitive, with several initiatives in the mix. That includes a plan from the owners of Center City Mall, who are proposing to construct a new arena as part of a project that would include a new hotel atop the mall. Backers of the proposal have filed a request with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to seek $40 million in tax credits, but have yet to obtain a necessary letter of support from Sayegh.

Hinchliffe Stadium opened in 1932 and hosted 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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