Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus announced today his final approvals of $4.9 million dollars for county park improvements plus the official signing of the new ten year lease agreement between Dutchess County and the Hudson Valley Renegades for the use of county owned Dutchess Stadium park.
Steinhaus proposed the resolution, or authorizing legislation, to approve the lease which was negotiated by Commissioner of Public Works Michael Murphy and passed by the County Legislature in October. The ten year lease agreement includes annual payments of $258,000 by the Renegades which will also offset the majority of the $1.5 million the county has planned for improvements to the ballpark. West Point, Marist College, Beacon, R.C. Ketcham, Arlington and other area schools have played at the ballpark which is also host to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) college baseball tournament and for numerous other community events and concerts.
Stadium improvements were part of a Comprehensive Parks Plan Bond initiated by Steinhaus. That plan will improve multiple county parks across the county, and provide the local match funds required to earn the county millions in state and federal money to construct the new 12 mile Dutchess Rail Trail Park, currently in the engineering design phase. The parks bond, given final signature by Steinhaus on Monday, was approved by a 23-2 vote of the Legislature in December. It had fallen short in prior votes due to partisan opposition from a block of Democrats in the County Legislature.
“I am quite happy that everything has been finalized and we can begin the work on our parks. It is especially gratifying to know the Renegades will be playing baseball in Dutchess County for at least another 10 years,” said County Executive Steinhaus.
The four-term Executive said, “I’m really delighted the popularity of our proposed Comprehensive Parks Plan was so overwhelmingly appealing to the families of Dutchess County that it motivated such an outpouring of supportive voices who forced the oppositional “no” votes from the Democrat block in the County Legislature to have to do an about face and become “yes” votes.”
Steinhaus added, “The parks owned by county government offer our residents and visitors diverse recreational opportunities and add a richness to our quality of life. They provide special opportunities for families to have quality time together. That is why improving county parks has been one of my highest priorities as County Executive.”
“The visitors who use our county parks spoke with a loud and unmistakable voice telling the Democrats in the County Legislature they had to stop fighting to defeat critical funding for the Comprehensive Parks Plan and stop making decisions that would chase our Renegades minor league baseball team out of Dutchess County.”
Steinhaus pointed out, “Millions of visits are made to our county government park sites – like Bowdoin, the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, Dutchess Stadium, and Wilcox Park. I am certain many more Dutchess families also will be visiting our two new county Parks at Quiet Cove on the riverfront and the planned Dutchess Rail Trail in the coming years.”
The Renegades have called Dutchess Stadium home since 1994. During that time over two million fans have attended games at the stadium.
According to Renegades owner Marv Goldklang, “I am glad we have a new agreement with the county and I appreciate the efforts of County Executive Steinhaus in getting it finalized. We have negotiated fair and reasonable terms and now the Renegades will be able to continue to provide great family entertainment to the residents of Dutchess County.”
The Renegades announced this week that the New York Penn League All-Star Game will be played at Dutchess Stadium in August of 2007.
According to Dave Burke, Renegades General Manager, “We are very excited about hosting our first New York Penn League All-Star Game. Our success here in Dutchess County and the overwhelming fan support is undoubtedly a major factor in our being selected as the host site.”
Steinhaus concluded, “We have a tremendous parks system in Dutchess County . . . and these parks will further contribute to making Dutchess County not just anyplace, but a special place.”