Study on Hinchliffe's Landmark Status Moves Forward
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 • 4:25pm
PATERSON, NJ - The National Park Service has completed its study of Hinchliffe Stadium as part of the process for nominating it for designation as a national historic landmark, according to Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr.
In a press release, Pascrell said the study could be the first step towards the National Park Service becoming involved in preservation of the site.
"Granting Hinchliffe the distinction it deserves will allow us to honor the many athletes, including Larry Doby, who played in this historic stadium and inspired young athletes in Paterson and beyond,’’ Pascrell said in the press release. “ I urge the National Park Service to include Hinchliffe Stadium stadium on the list of National Historic Landmarks to ensure this historic treasure can be enjoyed by many generations to come."
One of two fields still standing from the old Negro baseball leagues, Hinchliffe has been closed for 15 years and fallen into disrepair. Last year, municipal officials earmarked about $1.5 million for the stabilization of the ballpark. But officials have said that repairing the stadium for use again would cost at least $15 million.
Some city officials question whether including Hinchliffe in the national park is in Paterson’s best interests. They say the city’s goal of redeveloping Hinchliffe – which could include such revenue-producing aspects like a restaurant and an ice rink - a might be compromised if it’s included in the federal park.
National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. Today, fewer than 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction.
The federal study was embraced by a historic preservation activist. “This is a significant step for all our hopes in the preservation and restoration of Hinchliffe Stadium,’’ said Rob Burrows. “I understand the wheels of government always grind slowly when it is a program that is positive but little understood outside the area it would benefit. My family has been part of the Stadium from the start. My mother, father and almost all my aunts and uncles were part of the dedication in 1932. They all enjoyed the events there as they grew up. I was taken there many times for the Midget Car Racing, Kochman Hell Drivers, High School Sports, other sporting events and fireworks.’’
The Pascrell press release said there will be a 60-day comment period on the proposed nomination, after which the nomination and all comments will be submitted to the The Landmarks Committee of the National Park System Advisory Board. The Landmarks Committee will then evaluate the nomination at a meeting to be held on November 7-8, 2012, beginning at 10:00 am on November 7, and continuing at 9:30 am on November 8.
Rep. Pascrell’s Great Falls National Historical Park Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2009, contains a provision requiring a study of preservation and interpretation options for Hinchliffe Stadium and a recommendation by the National Park Service on whether to include the Stadium in its list of National Historical Landmarks.
Letters objecting to or supporting nominations may be sent to:
Mr. J. Paul Loether
Chief, National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program
National Park Service
120 1 Eye Street, NW (8th floor),
Washington, DC 20005.