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Suns: We’ll put up cash for new ballpark if donation falls through

New Hagerstown ballpark

If a $15 million donation toward a new Hagerstown Suns (Low Class A; Sally League) ballpark falls through, the team is prepared to put $3 million upfront to ensure the downtown facility is built, says majority owner Bruce Quinn.

The status of the $15 million gift from as-yet-unnamed benefactor has been in doubt for several months, forcing Hagerstown officials and Suns ownership to come up with a Plan B for a funding plan. The city and county contributions to the project are in place ($800,000 annually for 20 years), and there’s plenty of confidence the Maryland Stadium Authority will come up a commitment of $564,863 annually for 20 years, but the authority won’t be able to make such a commitment until 2013.

The current plan calls for a $25 million ballpark, with $3 million coming from the team in the form of a naming-rights deal and $105,000 annually for 30 years in rent. But it sounds like there’s flexibility in the plan, and some smaller funding gaps must be addressed.

The bottom line: Quinn and the rest of the Suns ownership seem pretty committed to staying in Hagerstown. Winchester (Va.) baseball enthusiasts keep arguing their city is in the mix, but judging by comments made to us at the Winter Meetings, there’s no indication the Suns are seriously exploring any alternatives at this time.

RELATED STORIES: Will new members of Hagerstown City Council kill new-balpark plan?; See for yourself: fans get peek at problems with Municipal StadiumAnonymous donor pledges $15M for new Hagerstown ballpark; Hagerstown: Construction of new ballpark could begin next springWinchester: We’re not optimistic about landing SunsHagerstown takes first step toward ballpark fundingHagerstown mayor: We’re close to long-term lease with Suns;Hagerstown: Let’s begin designing new downtown ballparkCounty to help fund new Hagerstown ballparkHagerstown citizens: Build downtown ballparkConsultant: Downtown Hagerstown ballpark is viable projectWinchester ballpark back on city agendaWork continues on Suns lease extensionWinchester rejects ballpark; Suns to discuss Municipal Stadium lease extensionWinchester seeks lease changes for proposed Suns ballparkHagerstown pitches downtown ballparkSuns: Nationals forcing us from HagerstownHagerstown Suns sign letter of intent for Winchester moveHagerstown looking at new ballpark to keep SunsWinchester preparing to offer $15 million ballpark to SunsHagerstown Suns in play


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