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The Union Leader (Manchester, NH)
MANCHESTER — An aldermanic committee voted unanimously Monday to approve a request from officials with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats minor league baseball team, seeking approval to use over $150,000 in capital reserve funds for repairs and improvements to Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in downtown Manchester as detailed under a new three-year deferred maintenance plan.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously in 2016 to approve an agreement with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats that commits city funds to pay for stadium improvements. The agreement included a concession from team ownership regarding collateral if they attempt to move out of Manchester before 2028. In exchange for the city funding $948,000 in repairs to Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, the contract contains language that pledges Art Solomon's ownership team at NH Triple Play will pay the remaining principal balance on the city's stadium bonds — pegged at $9 million at the time of the agreement was approved — if Solomon attempts to move the team out of the Queen City prior to 2028.
The city's deal with the stadium ends when the stadium bonds are fully paid off, projected to be in 2028. Under the current agreement, if the stadium capital reserve fund doesn't cover capital expenditure costs for any given year, the team will fund any additional money required, through 2021. After 2021, if capital reserve funds come up short for any year, the additional funding needed will be split 50-50 between the city and team "after both parties agree on the need.
"On Monday, members of the Aldermanic Special Committee on Riverfront Activities and Baseball took up a request from New Hampshire Fisher Cats President Mike Ramshaw and General Manager Jim Flavin seeking approval to use $151,215.00 in capital reserve funds to proceed with their three-year deferred maintenance plan. "The agreement calls for us to present an updated maintenance plan each year," said Flavin.
According to the plan, a recent facilities study of the stadium conducted by Aramark shows $2.4 million in deferred need, broken down as follows by system: $802,500 in electrical work, $390,450 in plumbing, $257,765 in mechanical work, $580,668 worth of interior work, and $337,116 in work to the stadium's exterior. The plan contains a summary of major issues including:Architectural — water infiltration, outfield wall stability, nonfunctioning seats; Mechanical and Plumbing — air conditioning and ventilation systems, building automation system/HVAC controls, bathroom facilities for Sam Adams Bar and Grill; Electrical — electrical systems for Sam Adams Kitchen, field lighting, and lightning protection.
According to the report, maintenance work planned for 2018 includes replacement of a portion of the stadium seats ($24,015) — to be replaced in sections over the next three years; a concrete overhang at entrance to suites ($79,000); and a handicap lift at the field level ($24,000).Carpet in 15 suites is scheduled to be replaced in 2019 and 2020, at a cost of $27,000 each year, and the flooring in the concessions areas along the first and third base side, as well as behind home plate, is scheduled to be refinished by 2020. The capital reserve fund currently has $210,000 in it.
The team is required to put in an additional $100,000 into the fund each year, Flavin said.Northeast Delta Dental Stadium opened in April of 2005, with construction of the Samuel Adams Bar and Grill completed prior to the 2008 season.The facility was designed by HNTB, an architectural firm out of Kansas City. The 115,000-square foot stadium has a capacity of 6,500 seats. An additional 6,000-square-feet of space allows for two 100-person party decks, one on the first base side and one on the third base side. The facility also includes a 300-person picnic area in left field, 28 luxury suites and the Samuel Adams Bar and Grill.
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