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Committee reviews Spotsylvania County ballpark proposal

Hagerstown Suns logoA committee charged with mapping the finances and future of a proposed Spotsylvania County (Va.) ballpark for the Hagerstown Suns (Low Class A; Sally League) revealed wide disagreements on how to accomplish the task.

The Suns have pitched a 5,500-seat ballpark plan that calls for the county’s Economic Development Authority to spend $27.75 million on a ballpark (including interest costs) and $15 million on a parking ramp. The Suns would invest $8 million in the ballpark and pay $150,000 annually in lease payments. The ballpark would be located on a 9-acre parcel south of CarMax in the Southpoint II development, and the county has approached the corporate landowner for a donation.

That’s the starting point for talks. The question is how the county’s investment would be repaid, and that’s where the fault lines on the committee were exposed. One idea was to impose an admissions tax on tickets, a proposal that didn’t generate much support from other committee members: it would require state approval. Another idea had the team’s rent raised from $150,000 to $500,000 annually — a level that probably wouldn’t pass muster with the South Atlantic League or MiLB. In any case, it sounds like this first meeting was more an airing of grievances than any movement toward a final plan, per this newspaper article.

The team has a lease at Hagerstown’s Municipal Stadium through 2016.

RELATED STORIES: Spotsylvania County pitches woo at Suns; Diamond Nation withdraws request for assistance on new Fredericksburg ballpark; 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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