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Monday, Apr 21st

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Winchester ballpark back on city agenda

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Hagerstown Suns

A new ballpark for the Hagerstown Suns (Low Class A; Sally League) in Winchester, Va., is alive after city officials meet in executive session with Bruce Quinn to discuss alternative sites.

The move last night by the Winchester City Council was a surprise: the executive session wasn't on the agenda and certainly not publicized. But a local television station was there to the bitter end and scored the following quote:

"So what the City has been doing in conjunction with the EDA and the ownership of the Suns is exploring possible sites and we've actually narrowed it down to several sites in the southeast portion of Winchester that we feel will address taking the park concerns away that were brought up, impact the neighborhoods, accessibility of 81, development opportunities. We feel that the sites we're looking at now would do all of those so not only does it take the park concerns out of the question it addresses other concerns as well. So we're pretty excited about the possibility of baseball in Winchester," said Winchester City Council President Jeff Buettner.

The plan would be to use a ballpark as an anchor for economic development and presumably involve a developer in funding a facility. Earlier some vehement opposition to a ballpark led the City Council to reject a plan to build a $15-million facility on city parkland; the potential loss of parkland and a vague funding plan that may have required general funds for a ballpark were the two core reasons for the opposition. Throwing in an economic-development aspect to the ballpark will certainly help the financial arguments for a new facility.

RELATED STORIES: Work continues on Suns lease extension; Winchester rejects ballpark; Suns to discuss Municipal Stadium lease extension; Winchester seeks lease changes for proposed Suns ballpark; Hagerstown pitches downtown ballpark; Suns: Nationals forcing us from Hagerstown; Hagerstown Suns sign letter of intent for Winchester move; Hagerstown looking at new ballpark to keep Suns; Winchester preparing to offer $15 million ballpark to Suns; Hagerstown Suns in play

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