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Thursday, March 17, 2011

City Holds Pre-Bid Conference For Harry Grove Stadium

George Wenschhof

Yesterday, The City of Frederick held a pre-bid conference for the Request For Proposals (RFP) on the use of the city owned stadium.

As anticipated, two potential bidders attended; the current lease holder; The Frederick Keys and Frederick Atlantic, LLC.

The RFP was issued by Mayor Randy McClement when negotiations on the extension of the current lease with The Frederick Keys, broke down.

The Frederick Keys, who are the single-a farm team of the Baltimore Orioles have been paying a small annual lease of thirty thousand, which some have said is not enough, even though the added economic benefits to the community is considerably larger.

Frederick Atlantic, LLC is a baseball team associated with the independent Atlantic League and interestingly, is owned by a partnership which includes the original owner of the Frederick Keys; Peter Kirk.

The Atlantic League was formed in 1998 and has many former major league players as managers and coaches, including Any Etchebarren who was the catcher on the 1966 World Champion Baltimore Orioles.

One issue which has been raised by city aldermen and the mayor is how can additional revenue be raised by the city from use of the stadium. Suggestions have ranged from allowing the stadium to be used for multi-use purposes such as concerts and theater.

In addition, alderwoman Carol Krimm would like to see the stadium be made available for use by local Babe Ruth teams on off days.

Jack Lavoie, managing member of Frederick Atlantic, LLC. sent me some information on the Atlantic League and some of the activities which take place in other stadiums, which can be read here.

Some have clamored the Frederick Keys are up for sale and have been extending their lease on yearly basis and therefore should not be continued.

While, others say replacing a major league farm team with a Independent League team would result in a lesser economic benefit to the greater local community.

RFPs are due to The City of Frederick by April 15.

If two bids are received, as expected, the vote by the board of aldermen is likely to be close when the award is made. Alderwoman Karen Young has publicly expressed support for the Atlantic League, while alderwomen Kelly Russell and Carol Krimm, along with alderman Michael O'Connor have not been as quick to jump on the bandwagon for change.

Stay Tuned.......


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