FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Matt Maisel
Director of Communications, City of Harrisburg
July 7, 2023
HARRISBURG – City of Harrisburg officials and City Council members agreed this week to provide the necessary funding to keep the Harrisburg Senators on City Island.
City Council voted unanimously to affirm Harrisburg’s commitment to fund necessary improvements and facility upgrades to City-owned FNB Field. The Senators, as AA-affiliate of the Washington Nationals, are required under new rules set forth by Major League Baseball, to play in a stadium which complies with new standards.
Harrisburg officials have agreed to take on the responsibility of improving stadium lighting, creating better practice and training facilities, and improve clubhouse areas for both home and visiting teams. Renovations will also include expanding locker room areas to accommodate the growing number of female coaches and umpires in professional baseball.
“With Major and Minor League Baseball recognizing the need to update facility standards to improve conditions for minor league players as part of their new collective bargaining agreement, the City of Harrisburg, as the owner of FNB Field, is proud to partner with the Harrisburg Senators to keep the Eastern League’s second oldest franchise in the City of Harrisburg,” said Dan Hartman, City of Harrisburg Business Administrator.
The City was awarded a $6 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which will go towards reimbursing the City for funding necessary improvements.
Hartman estimates the total cost of the project to run between $11-12 million.
“Thank you to Governor Wolf for his assistance last fall in awarding us the RACP grant,” Hartman said. “Without his help, we wouldn’t be able to get this off the ground to keep baseball in Harrisburg.”
City and team officials hope construction is completed in time for the start of the 2025 season.
The Harrisburg Senators have played on City Island since the team was founded in 1987. They have had been affiliated with the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals since 1991, and their current Player Development Contract runs through the 2030 season. Prior to that, the Senators were AA affiliate to the Pittsburgh Pirates beginning in 1987.
In addition, the Senators’ lease with the City of Harrisburg at FNB Field currently runs through 2039 that provides the city a restricted revenue stream to address the facility’s capital needs. These payments to the city will further help fund the upcoming renovations.
“We are thrilled that the City of Harrisburg has formally decided to fund the improvements necessary to bring FNB Field in-line with the new Major League Baseball Facility Requirements,” said Harrisburg Senators President Kevin Kulp. “City Island is among the most unique venues in the country for professional baseball and by taking these steps, the City is helping to ensure Minor League Baseball in Harrisburg for current and future generations.”
Harrisburg is one of many local governments undertaking similar projects across the country. In Pennsylvania alone, Allentown, Erie, and Reading are among cities currently working towards similar improvement projects.