Dutchess Stadium needs millions of dollars worth of upgrades to keep the Yankees in the Hudson Valley.

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On Thursday, members of the Dutchess County Legislature’s Public Works and Capital Projects Committee voted to approve a $1.4 million bond resolution to fund crucial improvements to Dutchess Stadium, a County-owned park that has been the home of the minor-league Hudson Valley Renegades baseball team since 1994.

The resolution authorizes the County to make improvements that are a major part of the Renegades’ recent agreement to become a full-season affiliate of the New York Yankees, using the stadium for 70 home games each season, beginning in April and concluding in September.

“Dutchess County has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to ensure its hometown team, the Hudson Valley Renegades, begins a strong and long-term affiliation with one of baseball’s most successful teams, the New York Yankees – bringing local fans the opportunity to watch the big-league stars of tomorrow play at Dutchess Stadium today while bringing increased tax revenue to the County. A vote in support of this resolution is a vote to keep professional baseball at Dutchess Stadium, while a vote against it increases the risk we’ll lose baseball altogether, our park will lay empty, and our county will lose revenue," Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said prior to the vote.

The resolution before the Legislature will authorize the County to purchase and install LED lighting at the park, bringing the decades-old park into compliance with Major League Baseball’s health and wellness standards, a requirement needed to secure the Yankees’ continued partnership with the Renegades for years to come, officials say.

In addition to the purchase and installation of new LED lighting at Dutchess Stadium, the resolution before the Legislature will also authorize the County to fund the design for future improvements to the park such as an improved home team clubhouse.

This is the first of a series of resolutions totaling an estimated $10 million planned to make necessary improvements at the stadium, officials say.

Over the life of the proposed 20-year agreement between Dutchess County and the Renegades, revenue generated through rent as well as other agreed-upon revenue streams more than pay for this investment, with the County netting a projected $750,000 surplus, officials say.

“All of Dutchess County’s award-winning parks are worthy of our investment, as they provide untold recreational opportunities for our residents, and that’s why our County has long supported capital investments at our parks,” continued County Executive Molinaro. “Investing in Dutchess Stadium makes even more financial sense since, unlike our other County parks, Dutchess Stadium can turn a profit for Dutchess County – not to mention brings in tax dollars on purchases made there – adding revenue we use to provide residents programs and services, and offset property taxes.”

The New York Yankees and Hudson Valley Renegades announced a partnership in late 2020, praising Dutchess County and Dutchess Stadium for its “upgrades meant to modernize and update the facility to current baseball standards in recent years – most notably the complete replacement of the seating bowl and a full-scale improvement of the parking lot."

Officials add a future commitment to Yankee player development needs was of primary focus for the Yankees in deciding to select Dutchess County and the Renegades for their affiliation.

“While towns, cities and counties throughout America were losing their minor-league teams, many of which had similar decades-long relationships with their host community, the New York Yankees saw the commitment of Dutchess County and the potential of our Dutchess Stadium, and made the decision to partner with us. We thank the Yankees for their faith in our county and our residents, and our hope is the Dutchess County Legislature will echo that support and approve the resolution before them to make sure Renegades baseball remains a large component of what makes us ‘distinctly Dutchess’ for years to come," Molinaro added.

On Monday the Dutchess County Legislature will then vote on the resolution.

“To be honest, if we do not approve the resolution before us on Monday, Dutchess Stadium will be empty. We have the opportunity of a lifetime to have the greatest baseball team in the world to host its minor league division at our County park. As the owners of Dutchess Stadium, we have a responsibility to make this investment, fortunately, the Hudson Valley Renegades will pay for it over time through their rent. This 20 year agreement will net Dutchess County taxpayers at least $700,000 in direct profit.” Dutchess County Legislator Joseph D. Cavaccini said.

The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce wants residents to make sure Dutchess County lawmakers understand the positive benefits that this investment will foster throughout the region by sending letters of support to the legislature.

The full resolution can be found here

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