By Lauren Zeugner
SYRACUSE — In a brief 20-minute Zoom meeting Tuesday morning, July 21, the Syracuse Redevelopment Commission passed two resolutions that will keep Polywood’s proposed expansion and the development of a new ballpark moving forward.
Dennis Otten, of Bose McKinney Evans, the law firm assisting the town on this project, briefly explained that a public hearing would be held regarding Resolution 2020-RDC-07 regarding appropriating additional funds through bonds and bond anticipation notes for the Polywood project.
Funds from the bonds will be used for the development of a new ballpark as well as road infrastructure improvements near the Polywood campus.
Larry Siegel, president of the Syracuse Redevelopment Commission, asked if there were any members of the public who wanted to comment. Paula Kehr-Wicker, Syracuse clerk-treasurer, said no one was on the chat feature and no one had emailed or called in any comments.
Jim Layne, a redevelopment commission member, said there had been questions about Polywood attempting to limit how much the town spent on the ballpark. Otten explained Polywood gave $500,000 and then bonds will be issued up to $1million for the development of the park. So Polywood is investing $1.5 million in the park.
Another question Layne and Mike Noe, town manager, have been asked is if Polywood has final say on the design of the park. Otten explained there may be some interest, but Polywood does not have final say on the park’s design.
Otten did stress if the ballpark costs more than $1.5 million the town will have to come up with the extra money from town funds. The resolution was approved.
Also approved was Resolution 2020-RDC-08 for sale of the real estate. Otten explained the town will provide the Harold Schrock Athletic Complex to Polywood.
The redevelopment commission is allowed to negotiate real estate sales. There needs to be two appraisals then two opening proposals done before the property can be sold to Polywood for a nominal amount.
Noe noted appraisals for the new ballpark have come in, but not the Schrock complex. Special appraisers out of Fort Wayne were required to handle that appraisal. Otten said he hoped to have offering packets ready by the next redevelopment meeting.
Closing on the new ballpark can be done when the redevelopment commission and the seller are ready. Otten said the town needed to consider whether closing using town funds then being reimbursed with BANS or waiting until BANS were available then moving forward.
Paul Stoelting, a redevelopment commission member, said which ever method moves things the fastest. Otten said he thought that working with the seller on closing shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Polywood’s closing, due to the legal requirements involved, would take 60 to 90 days to complete.
Noe noted the park department is planning on using the multi-use field at Schrock for football this fall. He recommended not closing before Nov. 1 unless Polywood allows football to be played there in the fall.
Noe also expressed concern that equipment and other items stored at the sports complex be removed before Polywood begins construction on its new facility. Otten assured him there would be time to do get that done.