On Wednesday, a public meeting was held to discuss a proposed Fredericksburg, VA ballpark for the Potomac Nationals (High A; Carolina League).
On July 10, the Fredericksburg City Council approved a letter of intent with P-Nats ownership on plans for a new $35 million ballpark. The proposal calls for the 5,000-seat ballpark to be constructed in Celebrate Virginia South, on land owned by The Silver Cos., which would contribute $100,000 annually and move its Celebrate Virginia After Hours concert series to the facility. The ballpark would be privately financed by P-Nats owner Art Silber and his family, with the city making an annual payment of $1.05 million to the team for 30 years as an anchor tenant. The city’s contribution would be covered by taxes from the ballpark, and revenue generated from use of the facility on non-gamedays. Under the current design concept, the ballpark is slated to feature several amenities, including a 360-degree concourse and club space that is open year-round for events.
The city and the P-Nats are in still in the midst of that 120-review period, so there is some discussion to be had before it is determined whether the ballpark plan will move forward. The Silber family was in Fredericksburg on Wednesday for a public meeting on the proposal and, along with city officials, addressed various questions and concerns from members of the public. More from The Free-Lance Star:
Other concerns included the need to mention downtown Fredericksburg in the team’s marketing plans, and the stadium’s use of part-time employees when the city could attract a business with high-paying jobs to that site. One resident also said that he didn’t think the city should be funding the project since it has so many other needs.
The Silbers said that they are working with the Fredericksburg Area Museum, and that some of those part-time jobs will give 14- and 15-year-old their first work experience and provide teachers and seniors with extra income. They also pointed out that the city will be getting at least $350,000 in real estate taxes a year that it would get if the stadium wasn’t built.
Bill Freehling, the city’s director of economic development and tourism, added that Fredericksburg would be mentioned in the team’s promotions, in its stadium and on its website, which would help raise the city’s profile.
Donna Eubank, who lives in King George County, summed up the feelings of many in the audience by saying that she thinks the stadium will be the most exciting thing to come to Fredericksburg in years.
If it moves forward, the proposed ballpark could open as early as 2020, and would be constructed on a site near the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center. The P-Nats have been looking for years to replace their current home, Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, VA. Discussions with Prince William County officials about a new ballpark in Woodbridge took place last summer, only to stall when the two sides could not come to terms on an agreement.
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