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05/08/2000
Senator Bruno Secures $12 Million for New Baseball Stadium at Hudson Valley Community College

CONTACT: John McArdle (518) 455-2264 or Marcia White (518) 455-3191 Sarah Boggess (518) 629-8071 [Hudson Valley Community College]
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Monday, May 8, 2000

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno (R-C, Brunswick) announced today that he has secured funds in the state budget to construct a new $12 million stadium at Hudson Valley Community College, which will be home to a Class A minor league baseball team from the New York-Penn League. Senator Bruno made the announcement with Hudson Valley Community College President John L. Buono and William L. Gladstone, principal owner of the baseball team.

"I am pleased to have been able to secure the funding needed to make this stadium a reality for Hudson Valley Community College – the region's second largest institution of higher learning. A new, state-of-the-art athletic facility will have a major economic impact on the entire region, as will the return of Major League affiliated baseball to the Capital District," Senator Bruno said. "An investment of this nature will pay big dividends. Jobs will be created, athletic and academic programs at the college will be expanded and area sports fans –especially baseball fans – will have the opportunity to root for the home team, as pro baseball makes a return to our region."

"I would like to thank Senator Bruno for supporting this important project and providing the necessary funds. The new complex presents a tremendous opportunity for the college and its community -- the entire Capital Region," said President Buono. "Already, college officials are working on plans to enhance existing academic programs and create new ones. For example, we're looking at new programs in the areas of facilities management and sports management, and we're looking to enhance our physical education program.

"Additionally, the new complex will further promote and enhance the college's athletic excellence. The Capital Region is known for its great baseball talent, and Hudson Valley already attracts many great local players -- the college's baseball team is nationally ranked and won the Mountain Valley Collegiate Conference championship last year, and this new complex will only enhance recruiting. This project also will improve several other of our fields and our tennis courts."

The $12 million stadium complex will have 4,500 seats, and will be located on the current site of the college's soccer and softball fields and tennis courts. Those existing athletic facilities will have to be relocated to make way for the stadium, which will be owned by Rennselaer County, the college's sponsor, and will be held in trust by the college's Board of Trustees. Adequate parking will be available.

"We are thrilled at the prospect of moving to the Capital Region, and it will be exciting to be in an academic setting," said Gladstone. "Senator Bruno should be commended for his leadership and support in securing the necessary funding needed to create this state-of-the-art stadium."

Gladstone and Buono explained that the college and Gladstone's firm, National Pastime Corporation, are currently negotiating the terms of a 10-year lease with options to renew. The college would be able to use the facility when the team is not using it during its season, which spans from mid-June to the first week of September. Both parties are hopeful that the new stadium will be ready in time for the 2001 baseball season. The project must be approved by the college's Board of Trustees and the Rensselaer County Legislature.

Gladstone, of Larchmont, N.Y., is currently the principal owner of the Pittsfield Mets, which has a Player Development Agreement with the New York Mets. The 2000 season will be Gladstone's ninth in Pittsfield.

National Pastime's Player Development Agreement with the Mets will end after the 2000 baseball season, because the Mets are planning to have their own affiliated team in Brooklyn. Thus Gladstone will move his New York-Penn League franchise to the Capital Region with an assured affiliation with another Major League team, which will be determined in September 2000 under the provisions of the Agreement that govern changes in affiliation.

As a franchise holder in the New York-Penn League, National Pastime is entitled to a Major League affiliation in the league. The New York-Penn League is composed of 14 teams affiliated with the following Major League Baseball teams: The Tampa Bay Devil Rays; the Boston Red Sox; the St. Louis Cardinals; the Toronto Blue Jays: the New York Yankees; the Montreal Expos; the Houston Astros; the Philadelphia Phillies; the Atlanta Braves; the Cleveland Indians; the Detroit Tigers; the Florida Marlins; the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Mets.

Gladstone is the retired co-chief executive of Ernst & Young, and serves on the board of directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Gladstone said the Pittsfield Mets have been drawing an attendance of about 80,000 per season, which includes 38 home games, while playing in a stadium built in 1919. He said he expects that the team will carry a name reflecting the Capital Region. The team is expected to draw well over 100,000 fans each season, Gladstone said.

"There will be a real economic benefit to the region," Gladstone said. "We will be hiring local people for concessions and ushering. We will be doing business with local firms. The players will be housed here, and the visiting teams will be staying in local lodgings and patronizing local businesses."

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certification programs in four academic divisions: Liberal Arts and Sciences; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Business; as well as programs run through the Educational Opportunities Center offering certification programs in workforce and academic preparation. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining.