ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Once a venue for nightly baseball games, it’s been nine years since a professional team made a home at Surf Stadium in Atlantic City.
Also called the Sandcastle, the 5,500 seat stadium is just 20 years old.
The original team the Surf in left in 2009, but there’s new hope for a baseball comeback from a familiar source.
Wednesday night council unanimously passed a resolution to enter a memorandum of understanding with the Surf’s original owner Frank Boulton to bring a new team to Atlantic City.
“To see that ball park, a nice ball park, sit there with no tenant has bothered me for quite some time so I’d like to work with the city and with the state to bring the ball park back,” says Boulton.
He founded the Atlantic League, an independent league in which the Surf played, and has owned several minor league clubs.
His job will be to find new ownership to restore the Sandcastle and field a team starting in 2019.
Boulton says two new casinos and a new Stockton island campus have investors excited about Atlantic City, which is looking for more affordable family entertainment.
“This is the City of Atlantic City’s stadium, it’s a valuable asset and if we can make the right deal happen that benefits this stadium and gives our taxpayers and tourist some family fun – I’m all for it,” says Atlantic City Council President Marty Small.
The deal with Boulton gives him exclusive rights to find a new team within 90 days, giving updates on his progress every 30 days.
Ernest Coursey, an Atlantic County Freeholder who serves as superintendent of Surf Stadium, says besides the missing lights most of the necessary improvements are cosmetic and should cost a few million dollars.
“The bathrooms, the electric, the water, the sprinkler system. The PA system – everything in here is workable,” says Coursey.