Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Release # 034-01

Contact: Sunny Mindel/Lynn Rasic (212) 788-2958
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  Gregory Miley/Janel Patterson (212) 312-3523 (EDC)


The Brooklyn Cyclones to Begin Play at Ball Park June 25th

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, KeySpan Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert B. Catell, New York Mets Co-Owner and Brooklyn Baseball Company Chairman Fred Wilpon and Brooklyn Baseball Company Executive Vice President Jeffrey Wilpon today announced that the New York Mets' 6,500-seat minor league ballpark, currently under construction at Steeplechase Park in Coney Island, will be officially named KeySpan Park. The new ballpark will be home to the New York Mets' minor league team, the Brooklyn Cyclones, which will play its home-opener against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on June 25, 2001.

The Mayor was also joined by City Council Finance Committee Chairman Herbert E. Berman, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Finance Robert M. Harding, and New York City Economic Development Corporation President Michael G. Carey for today's announcement at City Hall.

"The new KeySpan Park will serve as a catalyst in the revitalization of Coney Island, much the way Disney's investment on 42nd Street helped turn Times Square around," said Mayor Giuliani. "When the Brooklyn Cyclones play at this new ballpark on June 25th, it will mark professional baseball's return to Brooklyn after an absence of more than 40 years. On behalf of all baseball fans, I want to thank Robert Catell of KeySpan and the Wilpon family for their investment in this ballpark, which will provide thousands of New Yorkers with affordable family entertainment. I'm already looking forward to throwing out the first pitch at the Cyclones' home-opener, and I encourage all baseball fans to purchase their tickets to the Brooklyn Cyclones before it's too late."

Located just a few blocks from the Stillwell Avenue subway station, KeySpan Park will play a pivotal role in the revitalization of the Coney Island amusement area. To date, approximately 500 construction jobs have been created, and it is expected that an additional 200 construction jobs will be created before construction of the ballpark and related site work is completed. The Brooklyn Cyclones are scheduled to play 38 home games, and could play an additional six home games if they make the playoffs this year. In addition, the City can host up to 35 events per year, which may include other sporting, cultural, recreational, community, and civic events. Once the ballpark is completed, it is expected that an additional 240 full-and part-time jobs will result from the operation of the ballpark. The new ballpark is expected to generate more than $11.7 million in economic activity for New York City and is expected to generate $1.1 million in City revenues.

"Brooklyn Baseball Company is thrilled that the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones will carry the distinguished and respected name of KeySpan," said Mr. Jeffrey Wilpon.

"KeySpan Park is being developed as a state-of-the-art ballpark for the 21st Century, and, when completed this summer, it will be a fitting venue in which to return professional baseball to Brooklyn. Brooklyn Baseball Company is committed to making the Brooklyn Cyclones the best professional minor league baseball club in America. We believe that KeySpan joining our team is a home run for the Cyclones, for Brooklyn, and for all our new fans."

Mr. Catell said, "This is a wonderful day for Brooklyn and for baseball. KeySpan Park will be a centerpiece in the revitalization of Coney Island, a source of pride and recreation for the families of Brooklyn, and an engine of economic development for the City of New York. As a boy from Borough Park, I'm delighted that Brooklyn no longer has to 'wait til next year' for its own professional baseball team. I'm especially proud that KeySpan Park will help to make these the 'good old days' for future generations of New Yorkers."

In addition to revitalization of Steeplechase Park, many improvements to the surrounding neighborhood are planned. The Giuliani Administration has appropriated $11 million for improvements to the area which will include new playgrounds, a lifeguard station, additional comfort stations, shade pavilions, information kiosks and sand volleyball courts. Three pedestrian corridors will be built to maintain public access to the waterfront. Portions of the world-famous Reigleman Boardwalk will be rebuilt, and the landmark Parachute Jump, Brooklyn's Eiffel Tower, will receive needed repairs. Recently, ground was broken for Mermaid Commons, a public/private initiative that will bring residential and commercial development to Mermaid Avenue. In addition, a Local Development Corporation will be created to support the area's development of amateur sports facilities.

"This is another step in the rehabilitation of this historic section of Brooklyn," said Deputy Mayor Harding. "Mayor Giuliani is committed to making sure that what has happened in Times Square, on Harlem's 125th Street, and other parts of our City also takes place in Coney Island, once a crown jewel of family entertainment for thousands of New Yorkers and tourists. In addition to this new ballpark, plans to expand the Aquarium and establish a Sports Museum will ensure Coney Island's position as the place to go for great family entertainment."

EDC President Carey said, "After more than four decades, professional baseball is coming back to Brooklyn. The partnership between the Mets and the City, and now KeySpan, in this ballpark, will do much to foster the continued economic development of Coney Island and the surrounding areas."

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