A bill making the Hinchliffe Stadium a part of the Great Falls National Park passed in the United States House of Representatives earlier today, announced Congressman Bill Pascrell.
The Hinchliffe Stadium Heritage Act written and introduced by Pascrell passed unanimously in the lower house extending the boundaries of the national park to include the historically significant stadium, one of the only standing structure where the defunct Negro League played baseball.
“Today is a very special day for Hinchliffe Stadium as it moves one step closer to receiving the recognition it deserves,” Pascrell said in a statement. “This historic stadium has the unique distinction of hosting transformational players like Paterson’s own Larry Doby who overcame great adversity in uniting America’s pastime.”
The legislation will allow the National Park Service to take over the stadium through an easement while the city’s school district continues to maintain ownership rights. In other words, the park service will not have to purchase the crumbling stadium from the district.
11 current members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame have tread the ground at the stadium among them Larry Doby, Josh Gibson, William Julius “Judy” Johnson, Oscar Charleston, and Leroy “Satchel” Paige.
The stadium was also home to three professional football teams and held numerous other events including car racing, and professional boxing. Despite being an entertainment venue, the stadium fell into disuse in 1997, since then officials have been attempting to restore the stadium.
Last year, the city issued a contract to New York based design firm Wank Adams Slavin Associates to stabilize and partially restore the stadium as well as compile a future plan for the stadium.
A construction plan being put together by the company was 80-percent finished last month and engineers estimate the plan will be completed by September of this year.
However, before the stadium is added into the park’s boundaries the upper house must pass a bill. A companion bill has been introduced into the senate by Senator Bob Menendez which is set to be voted on tomorrow.
“Hinchliffe played a vital part in the history of our state and our nation, and now is the time to ensure that this story has a place in our National Park System for generations to come,” Pascrell said.