The Lehigh Valley IronPigs said they have no plans to leave Allentown, even after the city denied the minor league baseball team money to renovate Coca-Cola Park in a vote Wednesday night.

In a joint press release, Lehigh County and the IronPigs reaffirmed their commitment to stay.

“Despite the disappointing votes cast by the four Allentown City Council members at yesterday’s meeting, the IronPigs and Lehigh County have jointly committed to developing a plan that will allow the existing construction process to be completed in time for opening day next season,” they said. “The IronPigs have signed a lease extension to play at Coca-Cola Park in Lehigh County [through] the 2052 season and the current construction will allow the IronPigs to meet MLB facility standards. The IronPigs will call Lehigh County and Coca-Cola Park home for decades and generations to come.”

Allentown council members voted 4-3 to deny the IronPigs $1.5 million in U.S. Rescue Plan stadium renovations the team needs to retain its Major League Baseball membership. Members who opposed the funding said that since Lehigh County owns the stadium, the county should pay for the necessary upgrades, not the city.

Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong said it was hard not to feel burned by the Allentown City Council’s decision, especially with the help the county has given Allentown. He also noted how the stadium benefits Allentown through the IronPigs’ philanthropy, their use of Allentown vendors and their employment of Allentown workers.

“We promoted and helped fund a lot of programs for the city of Allentown … we needed their help,” he said. “So we were disappointed, I guess, as was the whole board and the administration.”

While he didn’t want to go into specifics, Armstrong said he will work to make sure the IronPigs can stay.

“Make no doubt about it: Lehigh County will not let the team go elsewhere,” he said.


The IronPigs requested $1.5 million from the city’s ARPA fund to improve Coca-Cola Park’s COVID-19 security. The IronPigs must make nearly $10 million in park improvements by April to continue the team’s affiliation with Major League Baseball and the Philadelphia Phillies.

The $49.4 million stadium opened in 2008, about 1.5 years after construction began in September 2006. For the club’s 10th anniversary in 2017, it underwent several upgrades. In July, the third gate opened, some of which changes were required by MLB.

It should also provide larger clubhouses, coaches’ offices, training, exercise, kitchen and storage facilities for both teams — plus a women’s locker room.

The county provided up to $4.5 million in stadium improvements.


For Se-C Gerlach, who led the City Council’s push to defund the IronPigs, the county’s commitment reaffirms her belief that renovating the stadium is the county’s responsibility, not the city’s. She said the City Council will consider spending the rest of the America’s City Savings Plan money to address crises like gun violence and homelessness.

“I was always confident that the good people in the county would preserve this regional asset, this county asset,” Gerlach said.

Commission Chairman Jeff Brace said that while upgrading the stadium is an issue the county will work on, he was also disappointed with the board’s decision and added that the city and county should remain partners.

“I’m not going to back down from my view that the city and county are partners on many issues that affect the residents of both,” he said.

Commissioner Ron Beitler said board members were shocked when they heard about the decision. He added that while he didn’t want to weigh in on whether the decision was the right one, he acknowledged the stadium was responsible for the county and criticized MLB for their “extortion.”

“This is a private industry that receives significant government funding to build its facilities … I strongly disagree with that,” Beitler said. “So at some point people just have to start confronting it to force them to change their business model.”

At a previous meeting, Beitler said he would like to see the US bailout funds go to other purposes.

Mayor Matt Tuerk, who was alerted to the City Council’s decision to deny the funding, said he was excited to see the IronPigs committed to staying in Allentown. But he said the board’s choice to deny the American Rescue Plan distribution could push back the IronPigs and Lehigh County.

“I hope this will not be remembered by the team as a rejection of the city,” Turk said.

The denial of funding comes after nearly a year of talks between the city and the IronPigs about whether the city would participate. A protracted public dispute could prevent other businesses and nonprofits from applying for city bailout funds, Turk warned.

According to, the IronPigs drew 544,220 fans in 2022, averaging 7,665 per game. More than 8 million fans have attended IronPigs games at Coca-Cola Park since the stadium opened in 2008.