Negotiations for Red Wings' future at Frontier to resume Tuesday

(WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. – The Red Wings hope to keep their wild card playoff hopes alive in Scranton Monday night - while closed-door negotiations back here will determine whether the team has a future in Rochester.

The 20-year lease for Frontier Field is up, and questions over finances and lease payments have the team threatening to move.

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo is directly involved with these negotiations.

After a two-and-a-half hour meeting Monday, all that's known is that both sides are still talking. What is not known is whether any progress has been made.

The Red Wings are getting a new landlord. An audit reveals the LDC that managed Frontier Field for the first 20 years failed to make payments on debt dating back to the construction, and has not collected enough rent nearly every year since. The debt is $32 million and climbing.

The LDC had no oversight and is being dissolved. Monroe County is the new landlord and wants to know more about the finances of Rochester Community Baseball, including whether it can afford to pay more rent

Rochester Community Baseball says it generates $9.5 million a year for Monroe County. $1 million of that is rent. The county gets all parking fees and naming rights, plus advertising, concession fees and partial ticket costs. Yet the county says taxpayers can't be on the hook for the debt that keeps growing.

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle released a statement Monday which reads, in part, "The County Administration’s mismanagement of leasing negotiations with the Red Wings is jeopardizing the future of professional baseball here in Rochester.”

Morelle also added he expects Monroe County to step up to the plate and secure a lease agreement.

A wild card victory would extend the season for the Red Wings. The current Frontier Field lease covers the playoffs this year, but the International Baseball League needs some answers about the lease before a key meeting three weeks from now.

All sides will return to the table Tuesday to keep negotiating.

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