How far has the trend of sports teams demanding upgrades to not-even-20-year-old stadiums spread? To Altoona, Pennsylvania, that’s how far:
A plan to fund improvements to Peoples Natural Gas Field, home of the Altoona Curve (Class AA; Eastern League), is needed to keep the team in central Pennsylvania.
Two proposals could generate revenue for a fund to enable maintenance and improvements to the ballpark. First, Logan Township is considering a plan to lessen its amusement tax on tickets and diverting the difference to a maintenance fund. Second, Blair County is considering whether to implement a hike in the hotel tax and putting that money toward the ballpark.
Ballpark Digest, citing the paywalled Altoona Mirror, says the initial upgrades would only cost $2.5 million, but presumably any “maintenance fund” could be used for any additional later improvements as well. The important number, though, is 1999, the year the Curve‘s new stadium opened — meaning here’s a Double-A minor-league team threatening to leave town (or threatening to have the league lean on it to leave town, it’s not entirely clear) because its stadium is turning 17 years old. Rod Fort’s quip about teams getting a new stadium every year is becoming less and less of a joke every day.