The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) approved $67.2 million in Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) program tax credits on Wednesday for the restoration of the historic Hinchliffe Stadium.
“The Hinchliffe Stadium redevelopment is an exciting project that will have a significant impact in Paterson and provide a valuable economic boost for New Jersey at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt our economy,” said Tim Sullivan, chief executive officer for the EDA. “This project will create jobs, provide much-needed affordable housing for seniors, and bring valuable community assets to Paterson.”
Hinchliffe Stadium has been in a state of disrepair for more than 20 years. It closed because of neglect in 1997.
“While it has been tragic to see Hinchliffe fall into disrepair over these many years, today we imagine a new Hinchliffe that will not only look back at the sacrifice and endurance of such players as Paterson’s own Larry Doby, but will one day provide an opportunity for future boys and girls who can be inspired by its very existence toward their own unique greatness,” said state senator Nellie Pou.
The renovated stadium will have 7,800 seats. It will also have a restaurant and a museum dedicated to Negro League baseball. Hinchliffe Stadium is one of the few remaining stadiums where the legendary Negro League held baseball games. Baseball greats such as Larry Doby, Leroy “Satchel” Paige, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, James “Cool Papa” Bell, and Oscar Charleson played at the stadium. The stadium, which opened in 1932, was made part of the Great Falls National Historical Park by the U.S. Congress in December 2014.
“Hinchliffe Stadium is an iconic part of Paterson’s history that has been left vacant and in disrepair for too long,” said mayor Andre Sayegh. “The NJEDA support approved today will allow us to finally begin the process of restoring this historic site and adapting it to the needs of today’s Paterson residents.”
Developer Baye Adofo-Wilson is leading the restoration of the stadium. His firm BAW Development is working with RPM Development. Part of the project also includes the construction of 75 units of low-income housing at a vacant lot behind School 5. Life Management, a nonprofit, will provide social services for seniors at the housing project.
The project also includes a 315-space parking garage.
Total price tag for the project is $93.77 million, according to EDA documents.
“The city, as well as the State of New Jersey, will benefit from the economic stimulus this type of grand scale revitalization will provide. The Paterson community has been hit hard during COVID-19. This project will play a pivotal role in helping families and businesses rebuild stronger post-pandemic,” added state assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter.
The project will create 182 construction jobs. More jobs will be created once the stadium, restaurant, and event spaces open to the public.
Construction will begin next month. The project is expected to be completed in August 2022.
“Paterson is a magical place for me and my family. My hope is that other Patersonians can excel on this hallowed ground just like my father did,” said Larry Doby, Jr., son of Larry Doby, who broke the color barrier in the American League.
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