The Reading Fightin Phils released the initial renderings of the FirstEnergy Stadium improvement project Tuesday. On Friday, Governor Tom Wolf announced the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s investment of $7.5 million in the improvement project at America’s Classic Ballpark.
That funding combined with assistance from our local city and county will allow the R-Phils to not only enhance the facilities for baseball players, but also provide the community with a new space to gather together right in our hometown.
America’s Classic Ballpark has always been a premier Minor League Baseball club, but with these updates it will be the most elite MiLB stadium in the country. FirstEnergy Stadium will remain historic and full of life, in tune with its traditional soulful character, while the necessary additions grow it into an extraordinary facility.
R-Phils General Manager Scott Hunsicker spoke about how the updates will include bringing the baseball player areas up facility standards and also use the space to host many indoor events beyond the games.
“The new facilities being constructed as a part of this project will offer indoor, climate-controlled areas, that will be multi-dimensional and flexible, and be utilized to welcome organizations, businesses, and individuals seeking to host events like banquets, fundraisers, conferences, and celebrations at FirstEnergy Stadium year round,” said Hunsicker. The building will be located in right center field.
The Reading Fightin Phils have been affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies since 1967, the longest standing partnership in baseball. The new requirements from Major League Baseball made it necessary to make improvements in order to hold on to a team license.
“Major League Baseball…threatened to move our hometown baseball team somewhere else, not an option right?” Schwank said. America’s Classic Ballpark is a piece of history, community pride, and identity within our area, Pennsylvania state Senator Judy Schwank acknowledged. It goes far beyond FirstEnergy Stadium as America’s pastime brings us together in our youth baseball leagues and in Baseballtown Charities Dream League.
The Senator spoke, “We’re serious about keeping our hometown team, we had this passion for the team, believing in our vision, and investing the resources we needed in our town to help keep the Fightin Phils here for us for decades to come…We’re staying here!” Schwank exclaimed. “We’re staying here.”
Congressmen and congresswomen, councilmembers, commissioners, and the mayor came together to push this project to the forefront. It is not only the economic impact that is important, but also the neighborhood value that took the centerfold.
The significance of America’s Classic Ballpark within our community cannot be understated. It has long been a place that family and friends can come together to celebrate and make memories to last a lifetime. It will continue to be our hometown baseball team that is a positive influence and gathering place for Berks County and beyond.
The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), the funding will support critical expansion projects, providing opportunities for community, economic development, and revitalization projects. With the help of our local politicians, the money that was going to be distributed anywhere in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be invested into our community.
More details of the entire renovation scope will be made available at a later time. Renovations will not impact the baseball season.