Perhaps realizing a request for city funding was a nonstarter, Diamond Nation withdrew its request for Fredericksburg money on a new Hagerstown Suns (Low Class A; Sally League) ballpark and youth-baseball complex.
The withdrawal was met with relief from city officials and may have saved the project. It basically reverts the project-financing plan to its original structure, with New Jersey-based Diamond Nation financing the majority of costs of the project, with the city offering $1.4 million in tax incentives and $10 million for a new parking lot. Off the table: a request by Diamond Nation for $18 million in city money. From the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star:
The City Council unanimously approved a resolution that gives the baseball partners one year to obtain financing for the project. The resolution was conditioned on a review of minimal changes to the incentive package by the city’s Economic Development Authority and the normal public review process.
“This is a remarkable and welcome change of events and certainly is viable and minimizes the risk for the city,” Councilman Brad Ellis said.
Councilwoman Kerry Devine echoed those sentiments and thanked the public for weighing in.
The total cost of the project is now estimated at $46 million. The new agreement also tweeked some other tax rebates and parking proceeds, but the big story is that Diamond Nation now has a year to acquire the 38-acre ballpark site — which is currently set to be sold at auction — and a year to arrange financing. Unless something dramatically changes, we’re now looking at an opening date of 2017.
The team has a lease at Hagerstown’s Municipal Stadium through 2016.
RELATED STORIES: Fredericksburg to move ahead with ballpark financing negotiations; Diamond Nation: Front us more money, and we’ll share ballpark revenues; Price tag for new Fredericksburg baseball complex: $61M; New Fredericksburg ballpark over budget; owners exploring options; New Fredericksburg ballpark opening delayed to 2016; Fredericksburg ballpark groundbreaking set for March; Quinn: Let’s bring short-season ball to Hagerstown; Fredericksburg ballpark deal moves forward — slightly; Local investor boosts Fredericksburg ballpark plan; Fredericksburg: We have deal to bring in Hagerstown Suns; Hagerstown: Yes, we really do want a downtown ballpark; Private financing pitched for new Suns ballpark; Fredericksburg, Suns to meet Tuesday to discuss new ballpark deal; Fredericksburg: We have five weeks to negotiate Suns lease; Fredericksburg: We need better deal from Suns; Fredericksburg City Council to debate new Sally League ballpark; Fredericksburg officials, Quinn discuss new ballpark
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