Skylands Park Owner Challenges Property Valuation, Tax Assessment

Millennium Sports Management, the owner and operator of teamless Skylands Park in Sussex County (NJ), has filed a property tax appeal challenging the county’s $125,207 tax assessment on the property based on a valuation of $6.7 million.  Millenium paid a whopping $121,503 in 2010.

If you haven’t figured it out, Skylands Park is a privately-owned facility that is unlikely to see another baseball franchise, unless the hefty annual property tax burden can be negotiated down (allowing for a reasonable lease payment for a new team).  If not, Millenium (or any new owner who purchases the ballpark for the near $2 million asking price) should take our repeated advice to launch their own summer collegiate franchise.  This would allow Millenium (or a new ballpark owner) to fill dates with a lowest-cost, minor league-like baseball franchise, while pocketing 1oo percent of the revenues to help mitigate ballpark outlays.  Need a consultant on such a deal?  We’d be happy to oblige.  And we must say, our incredible, top secret team branding idea would be a merchandising machine!

Read more here.  Thanks to John Cerone for the link.


Filed under Lease & Contracts, Money & Financials, Stadium Issues

9 responses to “Skylands Park Owner Challenges Property Valuation, Tax Assessment

  1. Robert A. Hilliard

    In 1995 and 1996, the Sussex County Colonels averaged close to 900 fans per game as Skylands Park’s “second” baseball tenant. In its three-year run at Ross’ Corner, some 25 Colonels players signed contracts to play with MLB organizations. Kevin Cash, Brad Eldred and Frank Brooks went on to play in The Show, with Cash picking up a World Series ring as back-up catcher to Jason Varitek with the Bosox.

    Tickets were $5.00 with open seating and parking cost a buck. Food & beverage concessions were priced below the same items sold at the professional games.

    Properly marketed and with a competitive product on the field, an ACBL club could average more than a thousand fans per game. Without salaries and reduced travel costs given the locatin of other ball clubs, the team would be profitable.

    Frankford Township has a “gift” but, unfortunately, seems to now rely upon the $125K it receives in taxes. It’s hard to believe they haven’t found a development project which could be successful from an economic standpoint yet satisfy the NIMBY groups who want to hear nothing but crickets when you aren’t hearing the crack of the bat.

    I extend an open invitation to the current owners of Millenium Sports Management, Kevin Kelly, Frankford Township and Sussex County, or any group considering purchase of the property to “re-involve” myself in an attempt to revive activity at Skylands Park and the Corner.

    Rob Hilliard

    • johnny regan

      rob, what happened to the sussex skyhawks. in 2010, the skyhawks didn’t have any money to pay me in full for operating the scoreboard. the attendance dropped below 72,000 for the season. the floyd hall enterprises, the owners of the new jersey jackals, and sussex skyhawks didn’t renew the lease with millemium sports management. After the sccc skylanders played their 20 home games in May,2011, millennium decided to cancel the rest of the baseball tournaments and put skylands park up for sale for 1,990,000. rob, contact milennium sports management at 973-383-7644 if you want to get involved. i saw that the oakland county cruisers have been sold,and are moving to london, ontario, canada. hope that you were able to pay people in response to the cruisers. johnny regan

  2. Richard Stuart

    I do not believe that any potential team owner would buy the stadium or put a team into it until the tax appeal is resolved. I do not know how long it takes for tax appeals to be resolved at the state level.
    It “may” be unrealistic to expect the appeal to be resolved in time to have a team in place for 2012.

    A little digging at the state court level for timing might be very beneficial..

  3. Skylands Park may be in the middle of nowhere compared to Staten Island and Brooklyn, but there is plenty of population to support a team there. Remember, even in their last season with the Cardinals, they were still drawing well. A NYPL team could survive there and probably outdraw a handful of the current teams.

    If you really wanted to see a ballpark in the middle of nowhere, you should have seen the Catskill Cougars home park in Mountaindale, NY.

    • DanRodriguez

      Well, not only Brooklyn and SI, Brian, but it’s remote compared to a lot of places. I, like you, have been to many ballparks and I can’t think of one that is farther away from any major highway, or one in the NYC metro area farther away from mass transit. I passed by the ballpark in Batavia recently. All farm country yet the ballpark is easy to find. However, I’m really rooting for an NYPL team to go there and there was that whisper early in 2011. I’m curious how successful a team could be with all these high taxes talks.

      Wow, man, you made me laugh about the Catskill Cougars. To me it wasn’t remote as I used to spend summers in Sullivan County but it was miles off the highway down a poorly lit road with not much signage. That is pretty remote. I feel that way about Sussex but I know you’re from NJ so you’re more familiar with it. I hope it happens again in Sussex.

  4. Dan Rodriguez

    Thanks for the info, Johnny. It’s a nice park but literally in the middle of nowhere. I think it’s best suited for a collegiate summer team or a NYPL team.

  5. johnny regan

    Skylands park did host a team in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League. Rob Hilliard, who was the visionary behind Skylands Park, created the Sussex County Colonels from 1995 to 1997, as the head of Skylands Park Management/Millennium Sports Management. The Colonels went to the championship game, and lost to the West Deptford Storm in 1995. The Colonels won the 1996 ACBL Championship, and won more regular season games (30),than did The New Jersey Cardinals Of the NY-PENN League did in their’s season (28). The Colonels finished next to last place. Future MLB Player Kevin Cash, played for the Colonels in 1997, and player Mike Daly, became a scout for the Cleveland Indians, and is now the International Scouting Director for the Texas Rangers. Rob Hilliard moved the Colonels to his hometown of Jersey City, NJ, and the Colonels played in 1998 and 1999. Future MLB Players that played for the Jersey City Colonels were Frank Brooks, and Brad Eldred. I worked behind the scenes for both teams at Skylands Park. I would love to see Skylands Park host either the Atlantic League or the Eastern League, because the attorney of skylands park kevin kelly, said how could the Sussex Skyhawks , be home to 47 home dates a year. The New Jersey Cardinals played 38 home Games during the season that they played from 1994 to 2005. johnny regan newton, nj

    • ballparkbiz

      Yes, thanks for the info, Johnny. Let’s keep in mind that the ACBL team played there at the same time the affiliated Cardinals did. The Colonels played big time second fiddle to the primary tenant. I suspect the ACBL team’s branding and marketing was pretty weak too.

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