Bruce Brodoff Communications
Bruce Brodoff Communications
The following Op-Ed was written in support of a new minor league baseball stadium in Staten Island and was published in the New York Daily News.

Thanks to the vision and commitment of Mayor Giuliani, Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari, and the New York City Council, a new era of economic development and growth will soon begin on the North Shore of Staten Island.

Last week, the New York City Council overwhelmingly approved the construction of a new minor league ballpark in that section of the borough by a vote of 39-5.

This approval came after the City Council recognized the merits of this ballpark and its importance to the overall economic re-development plan that will revitalize the North Shore. Thee plan includes the complete renovation of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal at St. George, as well as the National Lighthouse Museum. It also calls for new pedestrian and bike paths and landscaped waterfront plazas.

The renovations will bring enhanced transportation services, shopping, entertainment and waterfront dining opportunities to the 16 million commuters and one million tourists who ride the ferry annually and serve as an anchor for the economic development of this long-neglected area.

The potential benefits of this ballpark have been overshadowed by the naysayers who claim that the cost to build it would exceed $70 million.

But the reality is that the budget for building the Staten Island ballpark is $29.5 million dollars, which includes a $5 million contingency.

This amount is in line with recently built 6,000-to-7,000-seat ballparks, including Somerset County's $25 million park and Bridgeport, Conn.'s $24 million park.

It is important to remember that this ballpark is just one part of a comprehensive economic re-development plan for St. George. Additional investments will be made to enhance the area surrounding the ballpark and the renovated ferry terminal, investments that will spur further economic development along the North Shore.

These improvements include the construction of an esplanade and public plazas, building roads and commuter parking lots, demolition of the Bank Street Bridge, and improvements to the Staten Island Rapid Transit system and the shoreline.

This ballpark means jobs and investment in Staten Island. Construction of the ballpark and the corresponding site improvement work alone would support approximately 766 jobs and generate $1.6 million in City tax revenue.

Once the ballpark is open, an annual 40-game schedule, along with 20 proposed community events, is projected to create approximately 199 jobs. The annual recurring impact from stadium operations is estimated at $16 million in total spending, $5 million in total earnings, and $2.5 million in City taxes and fees.

The overall economic impact of the ballpark is equally impressive.

The present value of the benefits from this project (including the construction period benefits) over the next 20 years is estimated to be $231 million in total spending, $78 million in total earnings, and $26 million in City taxes and fees.

All of this economic activity will be generated from a site that was previously off-limits to the public. Once completed, this ballpark, along with its beautiful waterfront esplanade, will offer a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline and will attract thousands of New York City residents and tourists looking for affordable family entertainment.

With the ballpark and ferry terminal as anchors, the North Shore of Staten Island will become a beautiful waterfront destination for residents and tourists, bringing increased revenues to the City and jobs for local residents -- in short, a very good thing for Staten Island and for the City of New York.

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