For Immediate Release
Friday, March 7, 2014
Al Tyler, Senior Project Manager
Maryland Stadium Authority
In June 2012, Wicomico County requested Maryland Stadium Authority to perform an economic and modernization study of Arthur W. Perdue Stadium, home of the Orioles affiliate Shorebirds, to assess how revenues can be increased in the County-owned facility.
The study served as a tool to identify enhancements and amenities necessary to keep the stadium economically viable and competitive in the market and retain the team when its lease expires in 2015.
Crossroads Consulting Services, LLC, along with international venue designer Populous Sports and Barton Malow, a leading construction and program management firm, evaluated various aspects of the existing structure and its historical operations. They also compared Arthur W. Perdue Stadium, which opened in 1996, with other ballparks in its league in terms of seating capacity and fan amenities.
Their goal was to identify ways to improve overall marketability, increase diverse community usage, protect the value of the existing asset, enhance investments made by the public and private sector and maximize economic and fiscal impacts to the community.
The study, which involved numerous meetings with representatives from Wicomico County and the Shorebirds ownership team, evolved into an action plan. This approach allowed parties to identify priorities and estimate costs prior to completion of the study.
The initial menu of potential stadium enhancements fell into six categories: seating improvements, structural repair, fan amenities, a multi-use boardwalk deck around the outfield, parking and museum and office space. These options were evaluated for physical need, marketability, cost, and return on investment.
The following improvements agreed to in concept by the County and the team:
Restoration of the building and playing field, which includes:
- Replacement of field lighting
- Field padding
- Turf restoration
- Repair masonry walls
- Miscellaneous repairs, cleaning and coatings
Seating Improvements, which include:
- Stadium chairs
- Tables and chairs
- New seating
- Miscellaneous repairs and railing modifications
Construction of 360 Degree Circulation Deck, which entails:
- Grading and site improvements
- Structure, decking and railings
- Amenities, graphics, and furnishings
Additional Fan Amenities, which include:
- Luxury box level improvements
- Video board
- Installation of bird netting
- Miscellaneous repairs/upgrades
Stadium Entry Improvements, which include:
- Façade improvements
- Graphics and signage
- Entry canopies
- Hardscapes and landscaping
- Arthur Perdue statute
- Site furnishings
- Hall of Fame facade
Parking Lot Expansion
- Add 340 spaces
The proposed improvements will significantly increase the team's attendance and revenue as well as economic and fiscal benefit to the County and State, according to the economic impact study. Three key measures of economic benefits were estimated. Total spending, which is now $13.4 million, could see a jump to between $14.9 and $15.6 million at an enhanced stadium. 170 jobs are now supported by the stadium which could rise to 190 to 200 with the improvements. Total earnings, now $4.6 million, could increase to $5.1 to $5.3 million.
Fiscal benefits to the County and State include taxes generated by admissions and amusement tax, sales and use tax, income tax and hotel/motel tax. Wicomico County currently gleans approximately $183,000 annually from ballpark activities which could increase to $210,000 to $220,000 with an improved facility. The State of Maryland received $693,000 annually in taxes which could increase to $772,000 to $808,000.
"The Delmarva Shorebirds and Arthur Perdue Stadium are two of our greatest treasures," said Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt. "We must do all we can to secure their role in providing the quality of life that makes our community strong. Any money we spend today is a solid investment in our future. This is progress!"
Shorebirds General Manager Chris Bitters added his thoughts. "The Shorebirds are excited to continue to work in partnership with Wicomico County and the Maryland Stadium Authority to keep Arthur W. Perdue stadium one of the nicest in the South Atlantic League and throughout Minor League Baseball," he said.
"The updates and improvements outlined in the study will continue to make the stadium a wonderful asset and a family entertainment destination in Wicomico County and for our fans throughout the Delmarva Peninsula"
Ernie Colburn, CEO of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, stated, "The Perdue Stadium Complex and the Shorebirds Team are a source of pride for our area. Both provide quality family entertainment to those locally and those travelling into Wicomico County.
"We all have a vested interest both monetarily as well as culturally to see that the Shorebirds remain at Perdue Stadium in the years ahead," Colburn continued . "Providing a top-shelf facility is key to achieving that goal."
John Morton III, Chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority noted the agency's role in guiding local governments to make informed decisions about investments such as this. "MSA is happy to work with Wicomico County and the Shorebirds to identify ways and means to improve this wonderful community asset. From these findings, they can best determine how to proceed with recommended enhancements."
Now that the study is complete and specific projects identified, the next steps will be to further develop and refine the program and cost estimates, develop a funding strategy, finalize contract negotiations between the parties and evaluate land acquisition and future development of adjacent properties.