With the Rochester Rhinos out of the picture, city officials have been working to keep Marina Auto Stadium active for other uses.
Once pitched as a future MLS home, Marina Auto Stadium opened in 2006 for the Rhinos but is no longer the club’s home. As part of an announcement of its planned shift from Division II USL (now USL Championship) to Division III USL (USL League One), Rhinos co-owners David and Wendy Dworkin revealed last August that they would vacate Marina Auto Stadium by the end of 2018 and seek a new home for the club in Monroe County.
While the Rhinos are no longer part of the facility’s uses, Rochester officials are working to keep Marina Auto Stadium operational through a variety of events. More uses could be lined up in the future, but for now games and practices for local school teams are a big part of Marina Auto Stadium’s current slate. More from News10NBC:
“There are some kids who are training for track in hallways of high schools so we really don’t have a lot of facilities that are available outside of a few of the stadiums that have been built by the school district,” [City Commissioner of Rec and Youth Services Daniele] Lyman-Torres added.
While the calendar is still being booked, right now there are no major moneymakers are planned for the stadium in 2019. Section V no longer hosts playoffs there and the city also has not heard from another franchise looking for a new home.
“Last year at this time we had hoped that there would be some interest from private developers,” City Councilmember Molly Clifford said. “There were some ideas floated around but unfortunately none of those have really panned out.”
The stadium sits in Clifford’s district. Looking ahead to budget talks, she says a big focus will be on the cost. Records show it is about $500,000 to $600,000 per year. A bulk of that is spent mostly on utilities.
The Rhinos previously competed in Division II USL, but went on hiatus for the 2018 season amidst financial issues. At the time of announcing their decision to vacate Marina Auto Stadium and begin planning for Division III play, the Dworkins said that “after assessing the totality of our last three years as a tenant of the City of Rochester, we have determined that it is time for the Rochester Rhinos to move on from this venue.” The club is slated to begin USL League One play in 2020, but facility plans have not been announced.
RELATED STORIES: Rhinos Leaving Marina Auto Stadium, Shifting to USL DIII