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Fredericksburg ballpark funding plan emerging

Hagerstown SunsA potential funding plan for a new Fredericksburg (Va.) ballpark is on the table, with new real-estate taxes in the area possibly being tapped to fund the $30-million facility.

We still don’t have a tenant for the new proposed 5,000-seat facility, envisioned for construction at the Celebrate Virginia site, though local officials have their eye on the Hagerstown Suns (Low Class A; Sally League). (For the record: the Suns and the city have never formally met about a new ballpark plan, and the Suns continue to work on a Hagerstown solution.) From

Under the deal being discussed, the city would build and own the stadium and lease it to the baseball team. The city would generate revenue from the lease, the stadium naming rights, the taxes generated at the facility and a share of the team’s net profits beyond an agreed-upon amount.

The city has not yet determined exactly how much of the financing costs would come from the new tax district at Central Park and Celebrate Virginia, but that district could provide the majority of the funds used to cover the debt service.

Annual debt service on the $30 million in bonds is expected to range between $1.73 million and $1.95 million, depending on the interest rate. Money from sales taxes generated at the stadium would go toward debt service, and much or all of the remainder would come from the tax district.

You can expect local businesses to loudly object to paying for a new ballpark in the general area. Of course, it’s been done before (in Tulsa, downtown businesses have a special tax assessment used to pay for ONEOK Field), to good effect.

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