City Council last night supported Mayor Purzycki’s proposal for a historic public/private partnership to preserve the City’s historic sports complex.
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki today thanked Wilmington City Council for its approval last night of a historic public/private partnership between the City and Salesianum School that will lead to the reconstruction of Wilmington’s Baynard Stadium athletic complex. The vote was 12 to 0 with one member absent. While the City will retain ownership of the stadium, it will now formally enter into a lease agreement with Salesianum School, which will commit to an estimated $15 to 20 million rehabilitation of the entire sports complex.
“We recently unveiled a plan to renovate and preserve two City facilities—Baynard Stadium and Eden Park—and to provide much more in the way of recreational opportunities for Wilmington citizens, especially our youth,” said Mayor Purzycki. “Council has now given its approval to the Baynard Stadium lease agreement and has, by extension, enabled us to move forward as planned with creating a new Eden Park, which will become a jewel within the City’s park system. I extend my appreciation to the Council and to the citizens who contributed to the process of establishing a new lease agreement.”
The Mayor said he was very appreciative also of the support from the Southbridge community and others for the plans for Eden Park, and to the Triangle neighborhood and others for their support of the Baynard Stadium proposal.
“I also extend my deepest appreciation to Salesianum School for its long-documented commitment to Wilmington and for working closely with my Administration, Council and the community over the past year to help craft a revised lease agreement for the long-term management of Baynard Stadium,” the Mayor continued. “Most importantly, Salesianum will now embark on one of its more ambitious fundraising efforts ever, and its care and concern for our City will benefit all of our citizens for years to come. Thank you again to Salesianum for providing the City with a way to preserve Baynard Stadium and extend its use for the community.”
The Mayor said Wilmington will now move forward on both projects—Eden Park and Baynard Stadium—simultaneously as he summarized the park stabilization and preservation proposal for the two City sports facilities:
Eden Park Athletic Field, Pool, Playground and Picnic Area—Projected cost is $2.4 million. The following is a summary of the planned improvements:
- The City will build a new multi-purpose, synthetic turf, full-size athletic field suitable for the sports of football, soccer, and lacrosse; current athletic field lights and bleachers will remain in place.
- The City will re-grade and seed an existing sports field which is adjacent to the new turf field, making it available as a practice field or for events such as flag football and rugby.
- The City will add a new athletic field scoreboard.
- The City will install new fencing to border the athletic field.
- The City will resurface the basketball court, add new backboards, and remove the current fencing, which prohibits movement of players.
- The City will paint and recoat three park pools (five-foot depth, three-foot depth, and a baby pool).
- The City will upgrade the pool filtration systems so each pool has its own system.
- The City will create a relaxation area adjacent to the pools so family members can keep watch on their children.
- The City will add an umbrella spray feature to the pool complex.
- The City will replace park playground equipment and add a synthetic mulch playing surface to protect children from falls.
- The City will upgrade park picnic pavilions and install new picnic tables.
- The City will refurbish and seal coat the park’s parking lot.
- Salesianum School will build a new sports facility with a turf field, track, lights, bleachers, locker rooms, restrooms, scoreboard, press box, concessions, office space, community meeting space, landscaping, and hardscaping.
- Salesianum School will maintain the sports facility in good, safe, and clean condition at its sole expense. DNREC currently maintains the facility at an approximate loss of $100,000 per year. The City has not operated the facility in nearly 50 years.
- Non-Salesianum users, including other schools and youth groups in Wilmington, currently use the stadium approximately 130 hours per year for games and events. Under the lease, such users will be contractually guaranteed a minimum of 360 hours a year to use the facility. Wilmington-based youth athletic leagues will have free access to the facility. The access would accommodate the equivalent of at least 180 two-hour sporting events each year.
- Salesianum School will make the facility calendar publicly available, so that facility use will be transparent.
- An additional 90-daylight hours per month are set aside for public access to designated areas of the stadium complex, which will be published on the public calendar.
- The City, through the Parks and Recreation Department, will work with Salesianum to schedule its youth athletic events, during which the users will be permitted to sell food and other items and retain the funds from those sales for their own purposes.
- Local schools that currently stage their events at Baynard Stadium (Howard, St. Elizabeth, Delaware Military Academy, and Padua Academy) will continue to have similar access to the facility based on their existing use.
- The initial 50-year lease agreement between the City and Salesianum will be followed by one-year extension options for up to 50-years, renewed at the option of Salesianum School unless the school defaults under the lease.
- Salesianum School will have the ability to rename all portions of the facility as part of the school’s fundraising initiatives to support needed capital improvements.