It was talked about for years, but today Lackawanna County commissioners signed the dotted line, selling the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.
And the sale officially gets the ball rolling on a $40 million project to renovate PNC Field.
The Lackawanna County Stadium Authority signed over the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees. The team now belongs to the New York Yankees and its minor league management group called Mandalay.
As a part of the deal, the team agrees to stay in Lackawanna County for at least the next 30 years.
“In true honesty, I was not for the agreement, but this really turned around for me and everything in this is perfect,” said Stadium Authority Chairman Jim Timlin.
Timlin says the final terms of the sale and the 30-year lease with the Yankees ended up being a better deal for the county.
The money from the sale will help pay for the %40 million project to renovate the stadium.
The deal, which is more than 250 pages long was released to the public Wednesday night. Officials who oppose the deal say taxpayers couldn’t have had enough time to go through it all.
Plus, they say there are some parts of the deal that are causing concerns.
“Once the public spends that money, there’s no turning back, that public committment is there,” said lawyer John McGee, who opposes the sale of the team.
Lawyers who have read through the deal say there’s a possibility the Yankees could bail from their 30-year lease.
And that’s one reason authority member Chris Munley voted “no”.
“They’re going to get a brand new palace, and I hope against all hope that they’re actually going to show up and do something. I don’t have faith in them, I have faith in the Yankees, but I don’t have any faith in Mandalay,” Munley said.
Taxpayers we talked to say they’re wary of the project’s $40 million price tag.
“I think the Red Barons drew better than the Yankees did. I think it was a bad deal all around and the taxpayers are going to get hosed on the whole deal,” said Charlie Newcomb of Scranton.
Work crews started demolition at PNC Field last week in anticipation of the sale. The renovations are expected to be finished by opening day next year.
To read to complete purchase agreement, click here.