It looks like the Fightin Phils are going to be able to stay in Reading.
State officials announced Friday that a renovation project at FirstEnergy Stadium has been awarded a $7.5 million grant. That money — added to a total of $9 million pledged by the team, Reading and Berks County — will cover the cost of improvements required by Major League Baseball.
The improvements are part of a new deal between Major League Baseball and minor league teams like the Fightins that mandates that stadiums must meet a new set of standards. And the city-owned FirstEnergy Stadium falls short.
If renovations are not made Major League Baseball could potentially take the team away.
Facing the monumental task of raising more than $16 million to make the necessary changes, the team and local officials banded together when news of the situation became public this summer.
Reading Fightin Phils General Manager Scott Hunsicker came up with a plan for the team, city and county to each contribute $3 million to the effort. He said at the time that pot of money would enable the team to reach out to the state to fill in the remaining gap.
Hunsicker had said he believed the project was a perfect candidate to receive funds through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. The mission of that program is to provide money for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, recreational and historical improvement projects.
The team submitted its request for $7.5 million in matching funds in March. And on Friday, they got the good news that they had been awarded the money.
The project at the stadium consists of constructing a three-story structure that will house the home and visiting clubhouses, a women’s locker room, batting tunnels, a weight room, team laundry facilities, space for equipment storage, an indoor event space and other enhancements.
Team officials were not immediately available for comment.
This story will be updated.
Source: Berkshire mont