POUGHKEEPSIE – Two Dutchess County Legislature committees approved resolutions for proposals regarding Dutchess Stadium. Two Beacon lawmakers, Democrats Frits Zernike and Assistant Minority Leader Nick Page voted against both improvement plans.
One proposal calls for a new lease agreement between the Hudson Valley Renegades, a New York Yankees affiliate, and Dutchess County. The new 25-year lease agreement will be voted on by the full legislature on Monday night. If approved, it will then be ratified by Major League Baseball.
According to Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, the Renegades baseball season generates revenue for a variety of businesses in the county, including lodging. His sentiments were echoed by local hospitality officials. “We are very excited by this agreement and the opportunity to work with the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams. MiLB’s length of stay and mid-week business is exactly what we need to help grow our business,” said Hyatt’s Area Director of Sales, Judy D’Alessandro.
The second, larger proposal, calls for the county to purchase the land under and around Dutchess Stadium. The land is currently owned by the Beacon City School District and the county has been making lease payments to the district since the stadium was built almost 30 years ago. Molinaro’s plan calls for the use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to pay for the $627,000 deal. It includes using ARP money to pay for additional stadium improvements including a new clubhouse and an event space, planned to be a revenue-generator.
The planned stadium improvements are among the Dutchess County Parks priorities as part of the “Dutchess Invests” plan to utilize the one-time ARP funding from the Federal government. The new lease agreement, land purchase, and stadium improvements will generate new cash flow for the county, totaling nearly $600,000 annually, and enable the county to establish a parks reserve for future county park projects, according to Molinaro.
“Dutchess Stadium remains an economic engine for our county, employing our neighbors, attracting thousands of visitors from throughout the region and adding revenue which offsets taxes for County residents and businesses,” said Molinaro. “The two proposals before the legislature will enhance Dutchess County’s ability to benefit from the stadium’s use.”
He said instead of paying annual rent to a landlord, the county will own the land on which the stadium sits, making the park a wholly-owned county asset.
“The Hudson Valley Renegades’ new designation as the New York Yankees’ High-A affiliate will bring even more fans to Dutchess Stadium. The proposed renovations to the park, required by Major League Baseball for all of its High-A affiliates, will ensure the Renegades remain at our county park for the next quarter-century.”
ARP funding will be utilized to make $12.5 million worth of improvements to Dutchess Stadium to bring the ballpark up to Major League Baseball’s (MLB) standards for its affiliated teams and enhance the experience for fans.
Legislative approval will authorize the county to construct a new clubhouse for the Renegades; build new pitching and batting areas; as well as a new seating area and enclosed event space, among other improvements. The county will utilize APR funding to invest in these improvements, rather than bond for the investment, saving more than $2.5 million in interest payments, according to Molinaro’s office.