Batting cage owner loses battle with City of North St. Paul

After 30 years of operation, Triple Crown Batting Cages in North St. Paul, a long-time baseball institution, has lost its battle with the city and will now have to start paying rent.

Dennis Bartholomew, or "Bart" as he’s commonly known, built the batting facility and nearby concession center for McKnight baseball complex in 1993. He says he gifted the buildings to the city with the agreement that he wouldn’t have to pay rent.

Fast forward three decades, and now a new mayor and city council have decided it's time to start charging.

Mayor John Monge says Bart's lease was up, and the council felt it was time to re-evaluate the agreement considering they could use the money for park maintenance. Monge also said they’re considering upgrading the McKnight baseball complex which will require additional funding.

Bart says he makes very little profit, but whatever is left over at the end of the year is donated to local charities.

While he’s unsure he can sustain the $1,200 monthly rent payments, he’s committed to staying through the seven-year lease because he loves the community he serves.

Bart started paying rent on Sept. 1.