From Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady and City Councilmembers Steven Goodin, Sandra Landbeck, and Melvin Taylor:
To the Citizens and Businesses of Aberdeen:
Despite rumors you may have heard or read, the Aberdeen City Council did not vote to sell Ripken Stadium to any outside group or organization. On Monday, November 6, the Aberdeen City Council unanimously voted to pursue examining national and/or regional reality firms’ interest in marketing the Stadium.
No sale offers to any specific individuals, organizations or business entities have been made. Only when the Council has had the opportunity to see and review the input of this very small group of real estate professionals will a decision be made regarding the next step. That might include placing the Stadium for sale on the national market, but it could also include further negotiations with the tenant, revamping the existing agreement or the City conducting non-baseball events. From our perspective absolutely everything is on the table.
The goal, since the day this Council was elected, is to see greater use of Ripken Stadium. Each member of the Council genuinely hope the Ironbirds will be a staple in Aberdeen for many years; that the basis outlined in the existing agreement. Our intent remains to be to bring additional complimentary community uses to the Stadium. The majority of the Council felt offering to sell the Stadium to Tufton Professional Baseball, LLC., the organization managing the Ironbirds, was the best way for Tufton to build their future while unshackling it from the City. However, Tufton disagreed and declined the offer, which is certainly their right, and possibly something they felt in their best interest.
However, despite their declination this Council feels compelled to continue searching for new, expanded opportunities to use the Stadium. If not with Tufton, then possibly with another party. The Ironbirds are a short season, 38 games per year team, but Aberdeen has long term needs and debt.
Consider the possibilities of year round community events!
Communities everywhere see revenue generating community activities in art festivals, concerts, Octoberfests, craft fairs and much more. Why not in Aberdeen? Every day hundreds-of-thousands of cars pass Ripken Stadium, each carrying new prospects and possibilities.
In conclusion, the Aberdeen City Council recognize that the times have changed and we’re doing our due diligence. Our intent has been and will continue to be working with Tufton and the Ironbirds to search for mutual opportunities to be more successful. The philosophy remains rock solid; rather than cutting more slices of the same pie let’s grow it. We are actively searching for the right organization to assist Tufton, the Ironbirds and the citizens of Aberdeen towards this goal.