In hopes of moving the plan forward, backers of a proposal that includes a Hinchliffe Stadium renovation presented revised details to the Paterson City Council this week.
An effort has been underway to revive the former Negro Leagues ballpark, which under a current proposal would be brought back into working order as a multi-sport facility. The restored venue would be part of a $76-million development project that includes apartments, a restaurant, and a 315-space parking garage. Paterson mayor Andre Sayegh has asked the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to earmark for the project a $49 million share of $130 million in previously approved state tax credits for Paterson development initiatives. In order to accommodate the tax credits, however, project backers need the Paterson City Council to approve a reworked Hinchliffe Stadium lease agreement with the facility’s owner, the Paterson school district.
A previous iteration of the plan struggled to gain traction with the city council, but boosters of the project are hoping that revised terms presented by developers at a council meeting on Tuesday will find favor with city officials. Plans now call for Hinchliffe Stadium to be designed to host baseball, softball, and track, along with football. In addition, the proposed adjacent apartment building is expected to accommodate senior citizens, with the first floor of the structure including a child-care center. The council has not taken a vote yet, but some members reportedly gave the plans a positive reception at Tuesday’s meeting. More from the Paterson Press:
Moreover, the developers have scrapped the possibility of asking the city to borrow money to help pay for the project.
City Council President Maritza Davila, one of the leading critics when the governing body voted down Mayor Andre Sayegh’s Hinchliffe plan three months ago, said the changes made a major difference in her view of the project. Davila said she would allow the project to come up for a new vote by the City Council next week….
During Tuesday’s discussion, most council members praised the proposed changes in the reconstruction plan, providing a stark contrast to the criticism that the project endured back in June.
“The project has come a long way. I think it’s about time we get this going,” Councilman Al Abdelaziz said.
Under the current financial plans, the Hinchliffe Stadium renovation, parking garage, and restaurant would account for roughly $51 million of the project’s cost, with the apartments coming in at $25 million.
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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