Now that the pomp and circumstance of Hinchliffe Stadium’s “ground breaking” is in the rear-view mirror, and with the projected reopening of this National Historic Landmark slated for August 2022, perhaps now is the time to plan for the revenue generating events that will be needed to fund the yearly preventative maintenance for this 90-year-old facility?
When Paterson’s current mayor was on the Board of Education, and later the City Council, he would often wax poetic about how, in 1932, Hinchliffe Stadium opened as a “paying investment” and that when it returns, it would need to be a “paying investment” again.
However, recently, it was reported that Paterson officials do not expect many capacity crowds at Hinchliffe.
It begs the question: Is Hinchliffe Stadium to be a “paying investment” or not? The idea of having a “paying investment,” yet not expecting crowds, sounds like the foundation of an Abbott and Costello routine.
While the proposed parking garage behind Hinchliffe Stadium is slated for a mere 315 parking spaces, what needs to be factored in is that the Great Falls National Historical Park will soon have a parking garage, plus there is a parking garage across from Lou Costello Park where patrons can walk to Hinchliffe Stadium on a nice day or a series of shuttle busses/trollies can bring ticket holders to the stadium safely. Additionally, partnering with ride sharing services such as Uber can help as well.
The National Park Service gave Paterson a gift. The power of the National Park brand has delivered, and continues to deliver, visitors to the now well-cared-for grounds at the Great Falls. Currently, these visitors stay for a little bit, while their disposable income stays in their wallets.
With Libby’s no longer in the fold, these visitors hop in their cars and spend their money elsewhere, with a picture of the Falls on their phones. Shouldn’t that money be captured so that Hinchliffe Stadium can actually be a “paying investment?”
With 365 days in a year (and one extra day during leap year), there are plenty of opportunities that can be given a chance to thrive at Hinchliffe Stadium.
Some revenue generating possibilities include, but are not limited to: professional soccer, professional rugby, a team in the new MLB Draft League (or a college wood bat equivalent) and music festivals.
Perhaps instead of a one-day parade, a three-day event to honor Paterson’s vibrant and diverse cultures. During the winter months, Hinchliffe can transform into a winter destination with a temporary ice-skating rink that makes seasonal beverages available for both children and adults.
At this faux ground breaking ceremony, John Currie, Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee had some sage words about Hinchliffe Stadium: “Let’s get this done right. Let’s not have it deteriorate like this again.”
The only way to have Hinchliffe Stadium not deteriorate again is by ensuring that there are revenue generating events and having that revenue go back into yearly preventative maintenance.
Now is the time for all of us to be: One Paterson.
Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium