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Hagerstown officials review three potential ballpark sites

Hagerstown SunsHagerstown officials are reviewing three site evaluations, including two sites near Municipal Stadium, for a new Hagerstown Suns (Low Class A; Sally League) ballpark.

The evaluations, prepared by Ripken Design, looked at the former Washington County Hospital site, a location close to Municipal Stadium, and a site at Hager Park, also close to Municipal Stadium. Each site has its challenges, and the evaluations didn’t really lead to a clear contender for a new $30 million facility. For instance, the study concluded the best chance for generating economic development came in building at the Washington County Hospital site, but it would be the smallest site and the most challenging when it came to actually building a ballpark. (A downtown site apparently is on the sidelines.) The Hager Park site presents the fewest challenges in actual construction, but it would remove badly needed parkland from the neighborhood. From the Herald-Mail:

Dan Taylor, project manager for Ripken Design, said the report concludes that “hospital hill” — as Councilman Donald Munson calls it — presents the best chance to economic development in potential property tax increases, but the least on-site parking and overall space.

Suns minority owner Tony Dahbura, who spoke at the meeting, said the club prefers [the Hager Park] site only because it appears to have fewer impediments for construction than the other sites.

“We’re site neutral,” he said. “We just need to get (it) done.”

No decision was made by the City Council; discussions will continue. There is, however, some sense of urgency: plenty of other communities, like Fredericksburg, Va., are ready to talk with Suns ownership if Hagerstown can’t supply a replacement for Municipal Stadium.

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