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Private dollars included in funding options for Baynard Stadium

A public meeting Monday night focused on possible paths forward for Wilmington’s Baynard Stadium.

A working group appointed by Mayor Purzycki offered 5 options for the 95-year-old facility.  

The options include no changes, shared – or sole – financial responsibility for the city of Wilmington and the state - or a public, private partnership. They're based on cost estimates from Bancroft Construction and Macintosh engineers.

Former city councilman Norman Griffiths says given the current budget climate, a public-private partnership is the best option.

“Finding the money for an item like this is going to be very, very difficult in light of all the other priorities that state government, city government, county government have," Griffiths said.

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Credit Megan Pauly / Delaware Public Media
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Delaware Public Media
Community members voiced concerns about Baynard Stadium funding options Monday.

The stadium’s maintenance supervisor Gary Laudeman says cost estimates for repairs and maintenance are high.

“We can do it in small steps," Laudeman said. "I think the track needs something to be done right away, the locker rooms – and we do need to upgrade the stands – but I don't think it has to be all at once and I don’t think it’s a large sum of money. And it’s not as bad as everyone perceived it to be.”

State Rep. Charles Potter called the report merely ‘raw data’ and says considering any option now is premature.

“We haven’t looked at the income side – there’s a whole lot we haven’t looked at," Potter said. "The usage of the field, if you increase usage, what revenue that’s gonna generate – whether you phase this in over 3-5 years, we haven’t done that…there’s so much more to be done, this is the early process.”

The city needs a plan for Baynard after a deal with the Salesianum School to pay $20 million for upgrades in exchange for a 50-year lease to operate the field fell apart last November.

The group’s chair Kevin Kelley promises feedback from Monday’s meeting will be part of any decision on what’s next.

 

"The charge of the committee was to come up with some recommendations for the mayor to consider," Kelley said. "We're going to be providing those to him shortly, for him to move forward on one of those proposals."

 

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