Onondaga County seeks $25mn for Syracuse’s stadium
New York’s Onondaga County officials are seeking funds for a major upgrade of Syracuse’s minor-league baseball stadium in a renovation project that could cost $25 million or more.
The ambitious renovation, which depends on state funding that is not yet guaranteed, aims to make sure the new owners of the local Triple-A team, the New York Mets, stay in Syracuse for the long term, according to a report on Syracuse.com
County officials said they are optimistic they will hammer out a deal with the state and the Mets to start venue construction.
The tentative renovation plan includes adding a walkable concourse and viewing areas all the way around the playing field, while decreasing the total number of seats from 11,000 to 7,000. The concept includes new bars and picnic terraces behind the outfield, a children’s activity area and other amenities.
Ryan McMahon, chairman of the county legislature, said the biggest variable at this point is how much funding the state will contribute. County officials have tentatively proposed to borrow $8 million for the project, but they hope to pull together total funding closer to $30 million, he said.
The sale of naming rights, pouring rights and other sponsorships could also contribute to the project, McMahon said. (NBT has the stadium naming rights through 2025.)
Officials at Empire State Development, the state economic development agency, confirmed that they are negotiating with the county but declined to provide details.
A major upgrade to the stadium could help county officials negotiate a long-term lease with the Mets, whose current lease expires in 2025. The Mets bought the Triple-A franchise last year for $18 million from the locally owned Community Baseball Club of Central New York, assuming the local club’s existing lease with the county.
McMahon said the county hopes to sign the Mets to a new 25-year lease to ensure they don’t leave town when the current lease expires. County officials have been working with the Mets to design a renovation project to encourage the team to sign the lease agreement.
The Syracuse baseball park opened in 1997 at a cost of $29 million, of which the state paid $16 million.
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