Wicomico County Looking to Lock up Shorebirds for 20 Years - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Wicomico County Looking to Lock up Shorebirds for 20 Years

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- In 2015, the 20-year lease between Wicomico County and the minor league baseball team the Delmarva Shorebirds expires, so the two sides are working on a new lease that would keep the team in town another two decades.

Part of the negotiations include improvements to Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury.  In fact, the county and 7th Inning Stretch, LLC, the team's ownership group, have already agreed to about $5.7 million in improvements.  It is a total that county executive Rick Pollitt said will be paid for by means such as contributions and potential grant money.

"We make the best with what we have and we will not be raising taxes in order to do these improvements," said Pollitt.

The improvements include new fan amenities, more parking spaces, seating improvements and building restoration.  Both the county and team ownership agree structural improvements need to come first.  Then it is on to improving the fan experience.

"The seating piece is crucially important to us because quite frankly, people nowadays don't want to sit on benches.  They want to have a reserved seat in advance," said Pat Filippone, the President of 7th Inning Stretch, LLC.

Both sides said they would like to have the new lease finalized sometime in 2014 before the current lease expires.  The Maryland Stadium Authority provided an economic study on Arthur Perdue Stadium.  The findings of that study suggest if the improvements are made to the stadium, attendance could increase by 10 to 15 percent.

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