RiverHawks respond to coverage
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October 8, 2009 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – The Rockford RiverHawks responded Thursday to media coverage of a proposed tax abatement for Road Ranger Stadium, the team’s home.

The RiverHawks have operated for eight years in the Stateline without using a single dollar of taxpayer money. In addition, Road Ranger Stadium was privately financed by local investors, and it has become the home of baseball in the region.

• The RiverHawks’ ownership group applied for state funding for construction bonds prior to the start of the project and were denied.

• Road Ranger Stadium is the only current minor-league stadium among seven in Illinois that is privately owned and was built without public dollars. Rent One Park in Marion, which opened in 2007, received $3 million in state tax dollars.

• Road Ranger Stadium was built for the recreational enhancement of the community. Events at the stadium fund the maintenance of the facility, pay for utilities and other operational costs.

• More than 200 games have been played at the stadium in 2009. The RiverHawks have a 48-game home schedule. Area high-school teams and the Rockford College team take up much of the remainder of the schedule.
“We operate to be a community leader and an asset to the community, and that includes jobs with a full-time staff and a seasonal staff, as well as making it a big part of our goal to have the NIC-10 and Rockford College teams out here,” RiverHawks general manager/vice-president - sales Josh Olerud said. “This stadium was built for community use. The RiverHawks only occupy 25 percent of the games played here.”

• Area amateur teams played at the stadium without a net cost. They funded field rental by selling tickets to RiverHawks games. Each team kept a percentage of funds raised to use for their operating expenses or improvements to their high-school or college field.
“We directly benefited the local schools and Rockford College to upwards of $75,000 in fundraising in 2009,” Olerud said.

• The RiverHawks and Road Ranger Stadium are separate entities. Approval or denial of a tax abatement will not affect the RiverHawks’ ability to conduct business.
“We have made a commitment to the community and to the Northern League and we will be here for many years to come,” Olerud said.

The RiverHawks are members of the Northern League, an eight-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 18th season in 2010. Advertising and ticket information is available by calling (815) 885-2255. Games are broadcast live on ESPN 1380 (WTJK-AM) and the internet. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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