Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro proposes a million dollar upgrade Dutchess Stadium, home to the Renegades. John Wagner tells us why some say the renovations are necessary.
DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- Ripe off their first New York Penn League championship in nearly fifteen years, the Hudson Valley Renegades have a new logo, look and if one of their biggest fans has his way, a new field.
"We can take advantage of that opportunity to welcome new faces, new fans and new activities to the stadium," said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. "We can only do that through some modest necessary investment."
Built cheaply in 71 days, Dutchess Stadium is now entering its 20th year. County officials say on a day even with moderate rain, the field floods, postponing games: A loss for the Renegades, local biz and the county.
"The original drainage system that was made to get that water off the field is plugged and it no longer works," explained Robert Balkind, the acting commissioner of public works.
When they do play ball, peanuts and Crackerjacks are easy to find, but it's hard to keep those hotdogs hot.
"There isn't enough electrical capacity to power all the heating stations and food prep stations and refrigeration stations so that limits the food sales, which again limits the revenue generation," said Balkind.
An electrical boost, along with a new field, would run around a million dollars. A multi-year plan could turn it into a multi-use recreational park.
"We want it to go three seasons, we want to potentially have soccer tournaments in the fall and spring baseball," said Balkind.
The county executive says the upgrades will pay off. The 280,000 fans who came to games last year brought $4.5 million in direct investment to the area. In the last five years, the Renegades themselves spent nearly $7 million in the county.
"We're going to move slowly, prudently and carefully, but we want to ensure that this economic engine in Southern Dutchess County remains competitive and generates revenue and benefit for Dutchess County taxpayers," said Molinaro.
The county legislature will consider using capital funds in February, with the goal of a new field in time for the Renegades' first pitch.