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New site pitched for Fredericksburg ballpark

Hagerstown SunsThe Hagerstown Suns (Low Class A; Sally League) and Diamond Nation have shifted the potential site of a new Fredericksburg (Va.) ballpark — but not far.

The new location, where Kalahari Resorts once envisioned a facility as part of Celebrate Virginia, is near the original proposed ballpark site, along Interstate 95. The land originally sought for a new ballpark, which was envisioned as a 38-acre U.S. National Slavery Museum but has since been embroiled in bankruptcy, is directly north of the 30-acre Kalahari site. 

It’s a small change, yet huge: it allows the project to proceed (the land is being acquired for $1, but there’s assumption of debt) in a timely fashion: with the slavery parcel tied up in court proceedings, it could be months before a clear title to the land was acquired. In addition, it allows the Suns to move forward with the Oct. 1 deadline to file for a franchise relocation — and Suns ownership says that application will be submitted to Minor League Baseball. And the plan is definitely moving forward: the Fredericksburg Planning Commission approved the ballpark plan last night.

The project calls for the Suns and Diamond Nation to privately finance a $29-million ballpark complex that includes five practice fields for Diamond Nation tourneys. The city will pay between $7 million and $8 million for a parking lot to serve the complex; that commitment doesn’t change with the change in the ballpark site.

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