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City, state and Salesianum negotiate long-term lease to revitalize Baynard Stadium

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WILMINGTON — The City of Wilmington, the State of Delaware and Salesianum School have reached a tentative agreement on a long-term lease that would revitalize Baynard Stadium and establish the well-known community asset as a regional destination for athletic and community activities.

Mayor Dennis P. Williams, City Council President Theo Gregory and members of City Council today joined Brendan Kennealey, president of Salesianum School for the announcement.

As part of Salesianum School’s historic investment, it would assume the responsibility of managing and maintaining Baynard Stadium for the next 50 years (with an option for 50 additional years) beginning with a complete revitalization of the stadium complex located on 18th Street in Brandywine Park. The stadium renovation would include the addition of a new artificial turf field, running track, lights, bleachers, locker rooms, restrooms, scoreboard, landscaping and hardscaping. The project is estimated to cost approximately $15 million to $20 million and would result in a first-class facility which would be available for use by the public and community-based schools and other organizations.

The proposed lease agreement will be introduced at Thursday’s Wilmington City Council meeting and will be referred to the Council’s Education, Youth and Families Committee for review before the Council will schedule a formal vote on the matter.

All of the current users of the stadium including Howard High School of Technology, St. Elizabeth High School, Delaware Military Academy, the City of Wilmington, Kuumba Academy Charter School and many others, would continue to stage their future games and activities at the facility. Other sports teams and community organizations would also be welcome to use the refurbished stadium under a rental arrangement with Salesianum School.

While Baynard Stadium is a prominent landmark known by generations of Wilmingtonians, the facility is facing serious structural issues that will require a large investment of capital in order to keep the stadium up to code and attractive for users and visitors alike. After recently assessing the significant and long-term structural and maintenance needs of the facility, both the City and State welcomed Salesianum School’s offer to establish a long-term lease agreement which would result in the Salesianum renovating, managing, and maintaining the stadium.

Salesianum School President Kennealey said the school is making the investment because it is has a strong history of being committed to the community and is eager to improve the public’s use of the stadium. He said the renovation project is expected to produce more than 50 new jobs and add nearly $8 million to the local economy while the estimated five-year project is underway. Salesianum will work to hire Wilmington residents and contract with Wilmington-based companies for projects related to the renovation of the stadium through use of the City’s disadvantaged business enterprise program and through local workforce development programs.

Mayor Williams and Council President Gregory said they consider Baynard Stadium to be a treasured historic community asset that should be preserved and improved. At the same time, the City’s leaders said Salesianum School is a committed community partner that has been part of Wilmington’s history since it was founded at 8th and West Streets in 1903. The mayor and council president expressed their appreciation to Salesianum for its willingness to forge a new partnership for the people of Wilmington and for all who will use Baynard Stadium for recreation and enjoyment in the years ahead.

“Baynard Stadium evokes fond memories from generations of athletes and Salesianum is proud to be able to help support its renaissance,” said  Kennealey. “We envision a Baynard Stadium that continues to be a wonderful community asset and a destination place for city residents and people from across the region.”

Baynard Stadium is named for Samuel H. Baynard who served as president of the city’s Board of Parks Commissioners from 1922 to 1925. The facility is owned by the City of Wilmington and is currently managed and maintained by the State of Delaware’s Division of Parks and Recreation as part of an agreement with the City.

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