November 18, 2022 at 8:56 am
CHATHAM – Kent County lawmakers will finally have a deal in front of them on Monday night to approve a baseball team in Chatham.
If approved, the newest Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) team will use Fergie Jenkins Field as their new home starting next year, but not until April 2024.
The five-year agreement between the team and the city calls for $195,500 to be allocated for site improvements from the Hydro One Community Benefit Contribution Reserve recently awarded to the city. The venue will get two new grandstands, which will add 500 additional seats at a cost of $120,000.
Operating and life cycle costs will also be pre-approved in the 2024-2027 budget. Operating costs range from $82,000 in the first year of the agreement to $92,000 in 2028, and the team will pay an annual rent of $9,000 to offset these costs.
According to the agreement, the team will be allowed to sell food and alcohol once the necessary licenses are obtained, and the renewal of the agreement is subject to further negotiations.
Team owner Dom Dinelle approached the municipality in 2020 with the idea, but the project was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea gained momentum again earlier this year, and negotiations began this summer.
The agreement ensures that the team will also work with Chatham Minor Baseball.
Chatham’s own Fergie Jenkins is one of many players who have played in this league and made it to Major League Baseball.