March 14, 2022
13 Municipalities Request $250 Million Capital Investment in Upstate NY Minor League Baseball Stadiums
Picente Leads Call for Gov. Hochul to Provide ‘Buffalo Bills Equity Investment’
With New York State poised to allocate as much as $850 million to a new $1.45 billion stadium for the Buffalo Bills, today the elected leaders of 13 municipalities from around the state came together with a host of minor league baseball teams, to call on Governor Kathy Hochul to provide for capital assistance to upgrade and repair their facilities.
The Buffalo Bills Equity Investment effort, spearheaded by Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr., and Robert Julian, President of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, is focused on securing assistance for municipally-owned stadiums that are more important than ever as a magnet for people, commerce and community events in upstate city centers.
County Executive Picente was joined by a bipartisan group of elected officials that includes Auburn Mayor Michael Quill, Amsterdam Mayor Michael Cinquanti, Boonville Mayor Eric McIntyre, Elmira Mayor Daniel Mandell, Glens Falls Mayor William Collins, Jamestown Mayor Edward Sundquist, Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino, Newark Mayor Jonathan Taylor, Oneonta Mayor Mark Drnek, Little Falls Mayor Mark Blask, Saugerties Mayor William Murphy and Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr.
In a letter to Gov. Hochul, Picente, Julian, the municipal leaders and corresponding team owners called on her to add $250 million in capital funding to the state budget in concert with funding for the new Buffalo Bills stadium.
“From being abandoned by Major League Baseball to being excluded from COVID-19 assistance, municipally-owned minor league baseball stadiums have faced a host of unforeseen challenges in recent years,” Picente said. “With the Bills poised to reap close to a billion dollars in state funding, we are simply seeking some level of equity in capital funding.”
“The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League is proud to stand with the communities it services,” Juilan said. “Our brand of baseball is at a very high level and we provide the continuation of our national pastime to the many communities of upstate New York who have a long history of minor league and collegiate baseball. Many of our stadiums require extensive work, but are also important assets to the communities they serve. We are impressed with the Governor’s commitment to upstate New York and believe this request offers important attention to infrastructure and to continuing the quality of life in upstate communities.”
“Oneonta’s long love affair with America’s Pastime includes minor league affiliations with both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees,” Drnek said. “More than just to Oneontans, our vintage ballpark, Damaschke Field, is a beacon to tourists in Cooperstown - less than two-dozen miles away - and to an increasing number of visiting families brought here by three local baseball camps. As is the case with every municipality in New York State, Oneonta faces difficult choices in its funding of even the most important improvements to infrastructure and quality of life. The Governor’s support of minor league stadiums, and with that, the desperately-needed rehabilitation of Damaschke Field would be a godsend, and a very much appreciated support of our city.”
“Funding from New York State would certainly help Dwyer Stadium, located in the City of Batavia, to draw more fans and community members for all types of events including baseball, dance competitions, community celebrations and concerts,” Jankowski said. “Historically, municipal-owned stadiums have not received assistance from state-sponsored programs or grants, but are large economic and community drivers that enhance the quality of life in upstate cities. We appreciate the Governor and the New York State Senate and Assembly looking into the funding for our stadiums.”