A mandate from Major League Baseball may provide opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses in Monroe County.
The county has issued a request for proposal for a consultant to determine what exactly has to be done to make Frontier Field compliant with new regulations required by Major League Baseball to benefit players.
It is the first of what Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said could be several requests for proposal (RFP) in a multi-phase project. Bello said the county’s procurement and economic development departments are prepared to help qualified minority-owned and women businesses with the application process.
Information about the RFP is at www.monroecounty.gov/bid/rfps. The deadline is 5 p.m., Feb. 5.
The county is in the very early stages of the project. There’s no price tag yet, and little way to know at this point how many businesses – including minority and women-owned business enterprises — would be involved. The county and the Red Wings have until 2025 to complete the work.
Bello said the first phase requires a company that is familiar with Major League Baseball requirements, but “there will be a lot of different opportunities for companies to bid on projects.”
Over the past few months, the Monroe County Legislature and Bello have introduced bills and actions to codify diversity.
Last summer, Bello moved to create the Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Around that time, Democratic Legislator Ernest Flagler-Mitchell and Republican Legislator Matthew Terp co-sponsored legislation for the Diversity Action Plan to promote equitable practices in hiring and contracting and procurement.
In October, the Black and Asian Democratic Caucus introduced Gantt’s Law for Utilization of Minority and Women-Owned Businesses. The law would require guidelines for what constitutes a minority or women-owned business, create a directory of those businesses and expand the use of those businesses in all areas of county procurement. The bill is under review by the county law department and insiders said it is expected to be passed.
A project that involves a Rochester institution such as the Red Wings would seem to be a field test for the equity agenda.
When RFPs are evaluated, those that include women-owned and minority businesses receive extra credit. It’s possible that national companies could partner with local qualifying entities to boost their score.
Major League Baseball requires minor league clubs to expand the clubhouses, food-prep and dining areas for the home and visiting teams, install better field lighting and improve training facilities. Failure to comply with the mandate could mean that Major League Baseball ends its Triple-A affiliation with Rochester. In an extreme case, Rochester could lose the Red Wings.
In a way, the county is back to the future. Frontier Field opened in 1997 after Major League Baseball at that time required certain requirements that weren’t possible with a renovation of Silver Stadium.
The county owns Frontier Field and Bello, who said he grew up watching the Red Wings, said “we’re not going to lose the Red Wings because of a deficient stadium.”
The Red Wings employ hundreds during the season. Chief Executive Officer Naomi Silver said the team, now affiliated with the Washington Nationals, does not have a date for opening day.