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Winchester preparing to offer $15-million ballpark to Suns

Hagerstown Municipal Stadium

Winchester (Va.) officials are looking at spending $15 million on a new ballpark to lure the Hagerstown Suns (Low Class A; Sally League) from historic Municipal Stadium.

Now, it’s debatable whether this offer is really being taken seriously by Suns ownership or whether it’s a ploy to get Washington County to step up to help fund $10 million in renovations to Municipal Stadium. Indeed, considering the relatively small size of the Winchester market — it barely breaks 100,000, with Frederick County’s population, which includes the 26,322 residents of Winchester, is only 78,305, and it requires the inclusion of nearby Hampshire County for the Winchester MSA to break 100,000 — and the relatively poor demographics, with a median income lower than the rest of Virginia, there are many in Minor League Baseball circles and in Hagerstown thinking out loud that the wooing of Winchester is considered to be a weapon in the Hagerstown funding battle. (Indeed, we were a little skeptical of the Winchester market upon first glance.)

Still, the Winchester Economic Development Authority has moved ahead to acquire the land needed for a ballpark, and the Winchester City Council is set to discuss tonight issuing two bonds, including a general-obligation bond, to finance the ballpark, repaying $890,000 annually for 30 years.

RELATED STORIES: Hagerstown Suns in play


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