ATLANTIC CITY — Surf Stadium could once again be home to a minor league baseball team.
City Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday evening on a resolution authorizing former Atlantic City Surf owner Frank Boulton to negotiate on behalf of the city and leverage his connections to find an ownership group willing to bring minor league baseball back to the city. The resolution provides Boulton a 90-day window to find a team.
Boulton is a founding member of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, the only independent league with a relationship with Major League Baseball.
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Council President Marty Small Sr. said the city has “everything to gain and nothing to lose” from reopening the shuttered Surf Stadium at Bader Field on Albany Avenue.
“This has absolutely no downside,” Small said. “If Mr. Boulton delivers in 90 days and all the terms are ready to go, we’ll have baseball next spring.”
Small said new owners would likely have to invest in upgrades and repairs that would improve the asset. Besides baseball, Small said, the 5,500-seat stadium with the city skyline in the background is a great setting for concerts, tournaments and festivals.
“There’s work to be done, there’s no question about it,” Boulton said. “But that won’t be done in the next 90 days. What will be done in the next 90 days is getting the commitments to do all the work and put all the pieces of the puzzle in place.”
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An ownership group willing to put an Atlantic City team in either the Atlantic League or the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball is what Boulton said most interested him. Boulton said there would be no cost to Atlantic City during the 90-day period based on a memorandum of understanding he submitted to the council.
“This has been in the works for quite a while,” Boulton said Tuesday. “I’m in a position to help, and that’s what I’m trying to do here.”
Surf Stadium opened in 1998. The Surf played its final game in 2008 and ceased operations in March 2009. New Jersey has five minor league baseball teams but at one point had as many as eight. Defunct teams include the Newark Bears and Camden Riversharks, both of which were members of the Atlantic League at one point.