The Hagerstown Suns (Low Class A; Sally League) and the city of Fredericksburg are negotiating a revised financing deal for a ballpark that calls for significantly less in public spending.
The original plan called for the city to finance the costs of a new ballpark. The new plan, prepared with New Jersey-based Diamond Nation, calls for the pair to finance a baseball complex together at a 38-acre site at Celebrate Virginia. The city’s contribution would be between $7 million and $8 million for a new 1,800-spot parking lot. Diamond Nation, which has an existing business relationship with Suns owner Bruce Quinn, would run youth tournaments and league play on the six fields surrounding the ballpark. The parking lot could be financed by a tax on local businesses, albeit at a much lower rate than originally proposed by Quinn and the Suns, as well as parking fees for game attendees.
The plan assumed 250,000 fans attending Suns games, another 50,000 fans attending non-baseball events at the ballpark, and 537,017 players and parents attending Diamond Nation tournaments and training events. The economic impact of the proposed baseball complex: $83 million annually.
Nothing is final, and everything is still in the negotiations stage. The Fredericksburg City Council was briefed on the progress of talks last night, and a final proposal is expected at an August 27 meeting.
In Hagerstown, it appears city officials are realizing there’s little chance the team will stay: no progress has been made with the team on a private financing plan.
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