It was all excitement when an anonymous donor stepped forward to pledge $15 million toward a new Hagerstown Suns (Low Class A; Sally League) ballpark, but now city officials wonder whether the donor can fulfill the pledge.
Perhaps there’s been a little too much secrecy in Hagerstown City Hall about the gift, as the name of the donor has not been released. However, in city circles, the donor’s name is known — and it has raised some red flags on further reflection, according to Hagerstown City Councilman Lewis C. Metzner:
“If these folks are right — that they think the individual who’s promised to give the $15 million doesn’t have the money — well, then I guess we’re going to be looking at a different project with different funding sources, but it’s not going to involve $15 million in taxpayer money because that’s not going to happen,” Metzner said. “There’s got to be private financing….
“We have yet to see if this person … has the money or doesn’t. I can’t tell you and I’ve tried to make that as clear to people as I can do. If the person who is claiming to have the money doesn’t have it, you got to scratch your head and ask the questions why people do what they do, but I don’t know yet because I don’t know whether this individual has the money … (or) doesn’t have the money.”
If the $15 million donation falls through, it proabably won’t kill the ballpark project: before the donor stepped forward, city leaders had put together a funding plan that includes $10 million from the state, $6 million from the Suns in rent and the rest from the city and the county. The $15 million pledged by the donor would have replaced the city and country contribution to the ballpark.
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