When it comes to their ongoing search for a new ballpark, the Potomac Nationals (High A; Carolina League) could have options outside of Prince William County.
There was a major development in the team’s ballpark pursuit last week, when Prince William County cancelled a vote on the P-Nats’ ballpark proposal that was to have taken place this week. The agenda item had been removed at the team’s request, and owner Art Silber indicated he could explore opportunities to move or sell the team.
In an article dated July 15, WTOP reported that Silber found it unlikely that a new ballpark would be constructed in Prince William County because “trying to work with the county on a different project would be difficult and there aren’t many appealing sites within the county for him.” It was indicated, however, that the team could look for another option in Northern Virginia.
Among those possibilities could be Alexandria. The P-Nats’ origins trace back to Alexandria, where they were known as the Alexandria Dukes and played at Four Mile Run Park from 1978-1983. There are still questions surrounding Alexandria’s potential involvement, but vice mayor Justin Wilson has confirmed that city staff is looking into the possibility. More from WTOP:
“I know our staff is looking into it and will make recommendations to council into how we proceed, Wilson said. “I don’t know the exact status of that, if they have reached out [to the team] or not, but I know our staff is investigating.”
While there is active interest and an active investigation, Wilson would not call it an active pursuit of the team.
But, the vice mayor said that there are several opportunities in the city where the single-A team could fit in.
“We have a substantial amount of redevelopment occurring over the next couple of decades,” Wilson said. “There may be opportunities in the context of some of that redevelopment to make a home for the Nationals — P-Nats, whatever you want to call them — back in Alexandria, but we’ll see.”
Meanwhile, Loudoun County officials are expressing a willingness to consider the team. The county has been targeted in the past as the home of the Loudoun Hounds (independent; Atlantic League), who were linked to proposed ballparks at two different sites–first the Kincora Village development, and later at One Loudoun.
Officials believe that there is still a desire for a professional sports team of some kind in the area. According to supervisor Ron Meyer, the county has not had discussions about a ballpark site with the P-Nats, but could be interested in obtaining the team. More from WTOP:
Loudoun County Supervisor Ron Meyer told WTOP that the county has not spoken to the Potomac Nationals about sites there, but would be open to welcoming the team to Loudoun.
“This deal with Prince William just fell through literally days ago and it sort of caught us unexpectedly,” Meyer explained. “We have two stadium sites already approved and then we have one that is Metro-accessible that could be pretty easily approved. There’s definitely an opportunity of discussions.”
With those stadium sites already approved, a team that is not seeking public help could build a new stadium on that land without much interaction from the county government.
“We’ve had a couple independent league ballclubs have really serious looks at Loudoun County — we have one that’s still seriously looking at Loudoun County,” noted Meyer, speaking about the ongoing plans for a baseball stadium in the One Loudoun development.
Loudoun County has also been mentioned as a possible home for the NFL’s Washington Redskins should they seek to build a new stadium Virginia. It has also been discussed in the past as a possible home to professional soccer. As for Alexandria, it has been without professional baseball since the departure of the Dukes, but does currently host summer collegiate league action in the form of the Alexandria Aces (Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League).
RELATED STORIES: P-Nats Ballpark Vote Pulled from Agenda; P-Nats Owner Urges Supervisors to Reject Referendum; Chamber of Commerce Against Possible Referendum on P-Nats Ballpark; Supervisor Pushing for Potomac Nationals Ballpark Vote; Should New P-Nats Ballpark Bonding Go Before Voters? Politicos Disagree; P-Nats Ballpark Proposal Moves Forward; New Potomac Nationals Ballpark Pitch Scheduled for March; State Could Fund Parking Deck at New P-Nats Ballpark; Funding of P-Nats Ballpark Faces Scrutiny; New Potomac Nationals Ballpark Deal on the Horizon; New P-Nats ballpark pushed back to 2016; Silber: We’re close to naming-rights deal; New for 2014: New Potomac Nationals ballpark; P-Nats ballpark plan to be unveiled tomorrow; More delays for new P-Nats ballpark; Surprise, surprise: P-Nats ballpark decision put off again; P-Nats expand ballpark search area; Pfitzner Stadium field to be upgraded; As Harper skips Potomac, Silber works on ballpark solution; P-Nats, Prince William County working on new ballpark plan