Going, going, it could be gone; Lancaster Barnstormer’s owners need help with rent

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LANCASTER, Pa. – Rent at Clipper Magazine Stadium is $1.1 million a year. The owners of the Barnstormers, who took over in 2014, have asked the county to help them pay the rent in order to stay in the facility. In their proposal they are asking for $650,000 a year for a nine year period. In 2016, they are being asked to pay $275,000 by November 15. The county would be paid back by 2034.

“We have to make an assessment about what’s best for the tax payers. What’s best for tax payers of Lancaster County and I don’t see that there’s a way we can do what they proposed,” said Commissioner Joshua Parsons.

The bonds to build the stadium were made available by the county in 2004. The stadium is owned by the Lancaster County Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

“The rent payments are high. They correspond dollar for dollar with the debt service requirement on the bond to help finance it. That’s what determines the rent and that’s why there isn’t immediate flexibility to just lower the rent,” said Matthew Sternberg, Lancaster County Housing and Redevelopment.

In a statement, David La Torre, with Lancaster Baseball said, “Lancaster Baseball believes our proposal will allow the Barnstormers to play baseball for years to come. More importantly, it enables the club to continue to provide nearly 500 jobs, assist local charities, and do its part to help drive economic development to the community we call home. Since taking over in 2014, local ownership has invested millions into the club and has not taken $1. Our baseball business is solid. We have increased revenues, but the lease ownership inherited is the highest, by far, in the Atlantic League. Our proposal helps address this issue and ensures the county will be paid back in its entirety. We look forward to continuing to have discussions with the commissioners and all stakeholders to reach a resolution. The Lancaster Barnstormers take great pride in serving our community.”

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