Allentown City Council is about to vote on a $1.5 million award to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for stadium renovations required via Major League Baseball, however Lehigh County’s proposed further $3 million funding may trade how some council individuals vote.
According to a Sept. 9 letter from LV Baseball LP, the restricted partnership of the IronPigs, the county will supply an preliminary $2.3 million of American Rescue Plan finances inside of 10 days and in all probability an extra $700,000 at a long run date. That extra $700,000 may hinge on whether or not or no longer City Council awards the cash, in accordance to the letter.
The Lehigh County commissioners had the preliminary studying of a proposed invoice to pay the extra $3 million at its assembly Wednesday evening. It was once authorized via all 9 commissioners. A vote on the invoice is anticipated on the commissioners’ subsequent assembly, Oct. 12.
Now that the county has introduced extra investment, some City Council individuals assume their strengthen is not a very powerful.
The IronPigs should make $9.5 million in enhancements to the park via April 2023 to proceed the group’s association with Major League Baseball and the Philadelphia Phillies. The estimated price was once firstly $6 million, however has ballooned due to inflation, in accordance to Lehigh County General Services Director Rick Molchany.
Council has waffled on whether or not to award the IronPigs $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan finances since overdue final yr. Former Mayor Ray O’Connell offered council with an ARPA price range that might award $1 million to the IronPigs and $2 million to the brand new Da Vinci Science Center in downtown Allentown, however modified plans after pushback from nonprofit leaders and a few council individuals.
In June, council narrowly voted to indefinitely lengthen a choice on the award. But in early September, council scheduled a vote subsequent week on the ARPA awards for the IronPigs and the Da Vinci Science Center, each for $1.5 million.
Council member Candida Affa might be the deciding vote. She first of all voted to lengthen in June, however reversed route in September, announcing she does no longer “want to be the council person that saw Coca-Cola Park leave.”
However, Affa mentioned Friday that the extra cash promised via the county adjustments how she feels.
“I am rethinking it,” Affa mentioned of the ARPA award. “Things have obviously changed with the $3 million.”
She mentioned town must prioritize the use of ARPA greenbacks to make investments in infrastructure enhancements that may save taxpayers cash.
Council member Ce-Ce Gerlach argued at a September council assembly that the accountability to stay the IronPigs is the county’s, no longer town’s, for the reason that county owns Coca-Cola Park. The county would “not allow” the IronPigs to go away Allentown, she mentioned.
Other council individuals who strengthen the IronPigs’ funding mentioned they don’t know if the Lehigh County announcement will trade their vote. But they do need data on why town’s funding continues to be wanted.
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“I believe both are very important projects, the IronPigs and the Da Vinci Center,” Daryl Hendricks mentioned. “To what extent and how much [Lehigh County’s investment] may impact the amount, if any, we decide to allocate toward them, I don’t know.”
But others, like Josh Siegel, mentioned the county’s funding does no longer trade town’s legal responsibility to give a contribution, too.
“The city really needs to do its part, because the county has really stepped up here,” Siegel mentioned. “If anything, I think [the investment] puts a little more emphasis on the city needing to play a role.”
The IronPigs are increasing the house and visiting clubhouses, have already constructed a 3rd stadium front, and are including a feminine locker room in addition to different upgrades to assist meet a requirement via Major League Baseball to improve amenities via opening day in April.
Pennsylvania has dedicated $2 million, Lehigh County $1.5 million and Northampton County $200,000 towards stadium enhancements. The IronPigs have additionally dedicated $1.5 million towards the renovations.
Reached Friday, IronPigs media supervisor Michael Ventola mentioned the IronPigs have “no comment at this time.”
Morning Call reporter Lindsay Weber can also be reached at 610-820-6681 and firstname.lastname@example.org.