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Phoenixville Could Have Baseball Team by 2016

The ballpark would likely cost $20 to $25 million.

Negotiations to bring a minor league baseball team to the borough are expected to begin in December and Barry Cassidy, spokesman for the Phoenixville Baseball Committee, says the first pitch in a new ballpark could be thrown as soon as 2016.

“I’d say there’s an 85 percent chance we get a baseball team. That’s my gut feeling,” Cassidy told Patch.

The committee—a body comprised of residents and business owners that was assembled by developer Manny DeMutis in February 2011—received a $12,500 grant in May from the Phoenixville Community Health Association to fund a study assessing the feasibility of bringing a ballpark to the former steel mill site.

The study, which will be performed by the Chester County Economic Development Council, will evaluate the comparable minor league baseball stadiums; study Phoenixville’s demographics; prepare pertinent paperwork; analyze construction cost estimates and timelines; determine debt service capabilities; locate potential sources of public funding and grants; and develop a capital stack scenario to finance the project.

The review should be completed by December, at which point the committee expects to begin talking with teams. According to Cassidy, they could target an independent team or a rookie league MLB affiliate. He emphasized that the group is keeping all its options open.

“If anybody owns a baseball team in the US and they want to move it to Phoenixville, we want to talk to them,” he said.

The stadium would be situated on ten acres of the 120 acre former site of the Phoenixville Iron and Steel Company. It would seat 3,500 to 4,000 and, according to Cassidy, come with a price tag in the neighborhood of “$20 to $25 million.”

What’s in it for the borough

The Reading Phillies, a AA affiliate of the five-time defending NL East champs, draw about 450,000 fans a year to their 9,000 seat stadium, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. While Phoenixville’s ballpark would be less than half the size of Reading’s, Cassidy says it would nevertheless be a boon to the borough.

“It would bring more people to town,” Cassidy said. “The spinoff effect of people eating dinner there, stopping for snacks and gas, buying aspirin and coffee. It could be huge.”

The committee also views the venue as a potential hotspot for non-baseball entertainment. Committee member Richard Kardon—the owner of Point Entertainment, which does promotional work for The Colonial Theatre—will advise on the potential of this revenue source.

The Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, the Phillies’ AAA affiliate, hosted as its first major non-sporting event a July 14, 2009 concert headlined by Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp. Its 8,100 seat Coca-Cola Park sold out.

So, who's going to pay for it?

While Cassidy declined to offer any financial details—save for an estimate that the park would cost around $20 to $25 million—Lehigh County’s handling of its Coca-Cola Park could offer hints of a financing scheme.

The park, which broke ground in September 2006, opened in March 2008, and cost $50.25 million to build, was entirely publicly funded: 1/3 of the tab was picked up by the Commonwealth and the rest by Lehigh County. The county footed the bill through the issuance of bonds and a hotel tax.

On the revenue side, the Iron Pigs 30-year lease agreement brings the county $1.29 million a year, which covers the debt payments on its bonds. Additionally, Lehigh County came to terms on a ten-year naming rights contract with the local Coca-Cola bottling company a year before the park opened, the dollar amount of which is not available.

When pressed again for financial details, Cassidy offered cryptic optimism.

“We presented how we want to do it to the people who would be responsible for making it happen. And we’ve received a small and a tacit, ‘It’s good.’”

“We’re comfortable that we could finance it.”

The Phoenixville Baseball Committee is comprised of Joe Altomonte, Dave Chawaga, Connor Cummins, Manny DeMutis, Adam Deveney, Dave Gautreau, Fred Hubler, Kevin Johnson, Richard Kardon, Ron Knabb, Jim Kovaleski, Dick Kunsch, Julian McCracken, Dave Moskowitz, Marian Moskowitz, Kevin Negandhi, Jim Northcott, Crysta Peers, Jim Redding, and Steve Welch.

Ike July 20, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Barry , you still taking money for nothing? .Cant say what i really want to . But ill be takin to yall.
Chris July 20, 2012 at 11:40 PM
I find it hard to believe this is not an imposter. Would someone who is actually quoted in an article as a "spokesperson" really represent the group in this manner? It has to be a joke right? This is not sarcasm, I am really asking (as I did in an earlier post)...Barry, are you REALLY a spokesperson for this organization trying to bring a ballpark to the town?
. July 21, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Maybe people can take the train to get to this new baseball stadium.....oh yeah the train was a pipe dream that never happened. OK, there should be plenty of parking in the new multi story garage....oh yeah that pipe dream didn't happen either. There is a reason Cassidy was FIRED from the last several jobs he has had....silly rabbits, tricks are for kids. Stop drinking the Kool Aid and get back to reality. There is still a lot of REAL work that needs to be done in town without wasting more time and money on pipe dreams
A Taxpayer July 21, 2012 at 11:05 AM
4000 fans? Need parking for 1500 to 2000 cars. Perhaps that parking lot could be available for free parking when there's no games? Wonder how long it will take to get through Phoenixville when there IS a game. Baseball in Phoenixville? Sure, it will probably happen the day after we get a Jewish Pope.
K.B. Matticus July 21, 2012 at 11:08 AM
Tom, Your comment belies the ignorance most individuals bring to this issue - "informed guessing." I'm not interested in having my hard-earned income confiscated based upon a guess and a pipedream. The last two paragraphs of the article you cite: "The notoriously optimistic growth projections of planners, he said, "assume people are spending money they wouldn't otherwise be spending" on other forms of entertainment in the city. "What the fans are [actually] doing," he said, "is relocating money from other entertainment" to the team. In other words, money will likely be made. But most of it by the team." The very modest increase in personal income (for whom? I doubt for the families in the neighborhood) come with parking, traffic, trash, and crime consequences. Cost far outweighs benefit. Again I say: If this is such a great idea, let those who supposedly stand to benefit - the shopowners, landlords, and businesspeople - put together private financing, and then let them come to those of us who actually live here in Phoenixville and ask our permission to alter the character of the borough and our quality of life.
Frank Alvarez July 21, 2012 at 11:11 AM
Not being from the area, you all may want to do more research and visit areas that have had similiar economic challenges. Places like Brockton, MA home of the Brockton Rox. Pawtucket, RI home of the Pawtucket Red Sox. Durham, NC home of the Durham Bulls. You obviously care enough for your community which is a great start. Get more active now with the baseball committe now to ensure the future success of your community and that the needs of your community are fully addressed and become major components of this plan. Residents living outside your community like myself support and applaud your community involvement. Change is good so long as the community stays vigilant before, during and long after your baseball stadium is built. Good luck and know Chesco residents outside Phoenixville are standing by for mobilization.
Chris July 21, 2012 at 12:04 PM
KB, at the end of the day, isn't that exactly what you're doing to? You call Tom's comments "ignoarant" for his informed guessing, yet you state that you'll have to pay, there will be trash, no positive economic impact, etc. How is this not your version of "informed guessing". What I've tried to say, and what Frank A has so eloquently stated, is that we should all do more homework, wait for the study and only then make an informed decision. To come down factually on one side of the issue, either way, is nonsense at this point.
K.B. Matticus July 21, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Once more, I'll say: If it's such a good idea...
Ike July 21, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Barry Cassidy SAY ohhh ike...i was waiting for you to come back. come on give me some of the "hip hop hebrew ebonics" (definition: an in-tune older jewish woman giving us afro-american slang...with a touch poetry in a hip hop venacular) you so eloquently spew on this rag. I said i was done...had to come back for one more time in honor of you. hey did you here they are calling for more beaver dams...no kidding... you love the beavers Now what the heck does this mean????? Yall should grow up .i think this is why ya allays getting fired And this one shows what i mean by ya should grow up,,,, my room in mollys. meeting is being held under the perpetual light that shines on my photo.( may perpetual light shine upon me Now i kno why i doont go in to Molly, I couldnt eat looking at a wesel, PLUS I WOULD GET ARRESTED IF I STARTED DRINKING , throw that pic in the trash. Should of got ya before they got rid of the old benches................. Your not even funny no mo , i used to laugh at the crap that came out of you , now it comes out the other end.
K.B. Matticus July 21, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Who's going to pay for the infrastructure upgrades? Police and fire presence? Stress on the infrastructure from increased use? Even if the public isn't saddled with some of the debt - and I know as well as you do that the public will eventually be saddled with some or all of the debt - the private sector certainly won't be paying for the infrastructure. There is NO study that takes into account ALL of the costs and consequences of this sort of project that will show a net positive/profit for the community.
Chris July 21, 2012 at 01:06 PM
KB, to which I will reply..."show me the piece of paper that today tells you that you'll have to pay one dime". Nobody knows anything. To rant about a tax burden that may or may not impact you due to a ballpark that may or may not ever exist at this point in time seems premature.
Tony Riley-Hill July 21, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Oh my god-Ike could you please shut up! The word idiot can't even describe how unintelligent you are. Every time you post something, someone is laughing behind your back. Instead of throwing Barry's photo in the trash, why don't you climb in there yourself and spare us your insane, ALL CAPS trash!
claudia July 21, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Do you think it might help in efforts for getting rail service back to Phoenixville? We would definately need it as access since getting here is tough already, especially for folks coming in from Philadelphia and east.
Jennifer Daywalt July 21, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Perhaps the best way to deal with this situation is for everyone who has concerns and all that are for this plan to get together and discuss them like ADULTS. The name calling and insults simply take away from your credibility. Much more can be accomplished when armed with facts, true concerns, plans and the ability to stop and listen to find solutions for those concerns. A few months ago I wrote a blog on the growing pains Phoenixville will experience. Whether for or against the Baseball Park, you will get further in discussions with intelligent conversation, not mud slinging. You don't have to agree with every opinion but at the very least we should respect each other as we all have the right to have an opinion. It doesn't make your opinion any more right just because you disagree with another. It is simply another point of view and a different way of looking at a situation. There are many good mature arguments for and against the Ballpark. There are many valid concerns that are being brought up in between the battle to throw the most insults. Perhaps everyone should go to the meeting and communicate your feelings regarding the situation. Perhaps you will find that there are solutions to the problems you foresee.
Chris DeVol July 21, 2012 at 02:39 PM
AMEN Jennifer! Sadly, Phoenixvillians seem to be their own worst enemy.(Look where the real movers and shakers, that are trying to revitalize Phoenixville, actually LIVE) At the end of the day, 120 acres of Vacant Land exist in the center of Phoenixville, on the banks of the Exceptional Value French Creek and Schuylkill River in the center of the two richest counties in PA. Yours in the Successful Revitalization, Rejuvenation, and Reinvention of Phoenixville, Chris DeVol East Vincent Township Prior Member of the Phoenixville MSCDC (until I resigned)
Ike July 21, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Thank you there, son.FORGOT ALL BOUT YA TOO.
Chris July 21, 2012 at 03:45 PM
So well said!
Lisa Longo July 22, 2012 at 07:00 PM
I hope this motivates more Phoenixville citizens to come to Borough Council, and to consider running, we need more debate, civil debate, adult conversation about issues, not name calling. I don't know enough to have an opinion on whether this would actually be good for the Borough or not, I do have an opinion on community development and whether Barry has a track record of doing what is best for the community of Phoenixville or for Barry. We do all need to attend the meetings, I know I missed the last council meeting due to being out of town. We need to form a real community development council/corporation. One with stakeholders from all areas of our community. I had met with members of the old CDC Board and Barry, and suggested this and asked to be part of the Board, I was told I had to "earn it". Which was odd since I was offering to volunteer my time for a community organization. I would like an accounting of how the $12,000 grant from the Phoenixville Health Foundation was spent and how exactly a baseball team would improve our community health? That too seems odd. And again, I would like to see detailed plans, and insist this be done by referendum, not Council, vote. We all need to have a say in how this is done. I say let the Borough own the stadium and each resident be a shareholder, that way we reap the profit, after all, Barry wants us to pay for, we should own it.
P-ville-resident July 23, 2012 at 01:56 PM
the reason why they are thinking about putting it down town is that there is open space and they are thinking of ways to use it. They can't move the land away from down town
. July 23, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Lisa, the bigger question is what in the world does a minor league baseball stadium have to do with the mission of the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation? With all of the non-profits doing great work in Phoenixville (PACS, Good Sam Shelter, The Clinic, etc...) who could use additional funds to help the most vulnerable people in our community, why are they spending 12K to "study assessing the feasibility of bringing a ballpark to the former steel mill site"? Basically that money will go right into Barry Cassidy's pocket and pay for a drinks and food for their "meetings".
Ike July 27, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Antoney , i just realized that you called me an idiot. Now that not too nice , manners , my son ,just because you dont agree with what others have to say dont mean you have to go back to childhood days and GET WIT the names calling .But i understand , if it makes you feel better than have a fit.....You have alot to learn about life.. But do me a favor, dont read my posts , Cause it sems all it does is get your draws in a bunch. You have been in my town , what 3 years , so take it easy, SWEEP THE SIDEWALKS AND KEEP IT REAL.... ..BUT KIDDO , it looks like your one of the only ones,laughing, looking at my back. THIS WILL BE THE LAST TIME I
Ike July 27, 2012 at 05:29 PM
THE LAST TIME I TRY TO TEACH YOU ABOUT LIFE ...... I WILL NOT BE acknowledging you anymore.SO YOU KNOW YOUR NOT GOING TO LIKE WHAT I HAVE TO SAY , SO DONT READ IT ..... MOST IN HERE KNOW ALOT MORE ABOUT THIS TOWN THAN YOU WILL EVER , and that includes me. SO have a nice day.
Michael Hill July 27, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Ike if you are so important and know so much why don’t you use your real name. Some of have gone out acquired an education and are trying to make Phoenixville a better place. You don’t have one constructive thought to add to the town. Your only claim to Phoenixville is you have lived here longer. Some of us have done more in our short time than you will ever achieve.
Tony Riley-Hill July 27, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Ike-you are so right, I am tired of confirming how much of an idiot you are, you do that everytime you post something. It's interesting that you know how long I have lived in the area, so you obviously know who I am. Which means that you know that I invest a lot into this town, and most likely, you don't. My name is not Antoney, I am not your son-that will be an insult to my real father and I am a 47 year old man with an education under his belt. My issue with you is the fact that you have a lot to say, but you are a big nothing. Anyone that knows me, knows that I don't need to hide behind a computer-whatever I have to say, I am man enough to say it to your face. I know who you refer to when you make your immature "sweeper" comments. You don't want me to make comments, don't encourage me to reply-end of story. I am done with you-you are not worth the stroke of a keyboard. oh, TRY NOT USING THE CAPS SO MUCH-IT DRAWS ATTENTION TO YOUR STUPID COMMENTS.
Tony Riley-Hill July 27, 2012 at 10:32 PM
That hooked on phonics program is definitely not working...
Ike July 27, 2012 at 11:06 PM
A baseball team would be great,,PHILLIES FARM TEAM , NOW , THAT WOULD BE SOMETHING. BUT I WOULD LIKE TO GET CASSIDEE OUT OF THE LOOP , AND GET SOMEONE WHO , WELL SAY IT AS YOU LIKE , BUT LIKE A PRO. I WOULD VOTE FOR A TEAM , BUT I CANT SEE IT HAPPENING , HOPE IAM WROUNG , HAS IAM A VERY BIG SPORTS FAN..... and on an other note , did any ever have a bird in the moring that just keeps on chripping , so much that you stop hearing it , than one morning it becomes so much a pain , that you have to throw a rock at it to get it to flyaway,,,WELL ITS LIKE THAT WITH SOME PEEPS, THE insecure ONES THAT HAVE TO BE THE BIGSHOT......iT MIGHT BE OK , BUT IT SURE AINT ALLRIGHT. its hot down there.. LETS GO PHILLIES! AND LET GET THIS FARM TEAM!!!!!!!
Reginald Von Snoden July 28, 2012 at 02:49 AM
It would seem proper to get rid of Cassidy on this project. A true professional like Howard Bedell is located in Pottstown. He has experience in doing these kind of projects. He guided the West Chester effort and used the model where the Borough would own the stadium. This method of ownership that seems to make sense to Ms Longo. I am sure that it would be much better if we got rid of Cassidy, rallied around Ms. Longo's ideas and hired Howie Bedell as a consultant. I feel that is an excellent formula for success. You make a lot of sense Ike, what Cassidy is not telling us defines this argument. If the Phillies are involved we should be using Howard Bedell as he, at one time, was Dallas Green's bunk buddy on the road. His fee to West Chester according to the feasibility study was only $700,000 compared to what is rumored to be a 1.67 million dollar payment to Cassidy for his financial underwriting services. Ron Knabb, the architect, should also be replaced from someone outside the area with a resume that includes building stadiums. I know he designed the Vet but he was NOT involved it Citizen Park and that is a better park. Now that this project seems like it will happen i believe a change in management is necessary.
Chris DeVol July 28, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Great to see so many positive caring people, willing to invest and care about Phoenixville. If Barry Cassidy is the true leader behind this effort I highly encourage you to google and research his track record and talk with the Board Members that paid his salary over the last 40 years. If after your research, you think Barry is the man and can actually deliver the goods (don't pay him till he delivers) than go for it. Barrys Track record or lack therof, speaks for itself. Just talk to real people on the street as to who Barry Cassidy is. In fact, I believe he still has a blog, as to what he eats every day. Ya gotta read it!! Chris DeVol East Vincent Township Past Member of the Board of the Main Street Community Development Corporation(that had money till Barry spent it all on himself) Chrisdevol@gmail.com 6102471930
Chris July 28, 2012 at 03:37 AM
I believe his comments here speak volumes. Unprofessional juvenile dreck.
Ike July 28, 2012 at 10:37 AM
I concur that boy has got to just leave this project alone, who would be the best at helping get this done? ..........And i cant belive that i got this email,, this aint even funny .... Hi Ike, Michael Hill also commented on Phoenixville Could Have Baseball Team by 2016. "Ike your a coward." To respond view the comment on Patch. I got another one a couple of months ago from his brother , calling me something.What is it with yall. Acting like brats , i might be old , but belive me , i aint no coward GROW UP....Is this why yall went out and got an education ? So yall can call me names , THAN DELETE IT REAL QUICK SO LIKE ILL BE ONE OF THE ONLY PEEPS TO BE ABLE TO READ IT, I FEEL BAD WIT YOU TWO BROTHERS, MUST OF BEEN PICK ON WHEN YALL WERE KIDS, TO BE ACTING LIKE THIS.. LIKE I SAID , I MIGHT BE AN OLDMAN NOW ,, BUT I AINT NO COWARD. I really feel sorry for ya.

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