Dutchess County Legislator Yvette Valdés Smith says constituents are not happy with the county spending about $25 million from its $120 million fund balance to finance Dutchess Stadium renovations.

The renovations include a new clubhouse for the Hudson Valley Renegades baseball team, additional seating and event space.

“We all love the stadium, but the funding is exorbitant," Valdés Smith said.

What You Need To Know

  • The Dutchess County Legislature approved $25 million in funding for Dutchess Stadium renovations

  • The project includes a new clubhouse, additional seating and event space

  • Approval of the funding was mostly divided along party lines

This comes after the county originally intended to use American Rescue Plan funds for the upgrades. Public outcry led the county to instead use that funding on affordable housing, a cause that is more in line with the original intent of the funds.

“I’m hearing daily from my constituents that they’re very concerned about the $25 million going into Dutchess Stadium, where there are so many other needs in this county," Valdés Smith said.

Valdés Smith, a Democrat, characterized the amendment on the county’s 2023 budget as a surprise. Dutchess Legislature Chair A. Gregg Pulver, a Republican, says there should be no surprise.

“We’ve been talking about this for two years and, quite honestly, they knew about it two weeks prior to this because we told them that we were thinking about doing this," he said.

Pulver says that this spending will keep the Renegades’ status as a New York Yankees affiliate. Adding the event space, he said, will also give the county more chances to use the stadium, which is a county park.

“Maximize the usage of the stadium, which in turn, gives us a bigger share of the revenue," he said. "We think that the event space is an important part of it; it’s a $3.5 million option, but we think that’s good for us.”

The funding passed a mostly party-line vote by the legislature. Valdés Smith says she would have liked to have seen the process delayed, and for public hearings to be added, so that taxpayers could have more input on it.

“If we were able to push this forth as an amendment months from now, we would also have more documentation and information, and the RFP process would have come back already," she said. "We could actually see the bids that are out on this; as of right now, we still have not seen that.”

County DPW officials expect ground to break on the project by March of 2023, once construction bids come back.