Fredricksburg, VA officials have extended a review period for a proposed new Potomac Nationals (High A; Carolina League) ballpark, allowing the two sides more time to finalize an agreement.
Back on July 10, the Fredericksburg City Council approved a letter of intent with P-Nats ownership on plans for a new $35 million ballpark in the Celebrate Virginia South development. That effectively triggered a 120-day review period between the two sides that was set to expire November 8, but the city council voted at a special session last week to extend that deadline to November 28.
In pushing back the deadline, city officials emphasized that it gives both sides more time to resolve any outstanding issues before a final agreement moves forward. The city council is currently expected to consider several ballpark-related measures through final votes on November 13, including a development and shared use agreement with P-Nats ownership. More from the Free-Lance Star:
“While the Club and City are making substantial progress on their responsibilities under the [letter of intent], they are not in sole control of the process,” Bill Freehling, director of the Fredericksburg Department of Economic Development and Tourism, wrote in a memorandum to City Manager Tim Baroody. “Additional time will permit the transaction to be concluded as smoothly as possible.”
City Council voted 7–0 Tuesday to approve the first of two votes for a special use permit for a stadium in Celebrate Virginia South and to vacate a right-of-way and realign an undeveloped portion of Carl D. Silver Parkway.
The general development plan shows a future extension of the parkway that would extend through the middle of the stadium property. The proposed realignment would instead curve around the stadium to the west, have a double roundabout at the entrance to the Silver Collection at Celebrate, and enable a future intersection with Gordon W. Shelton Boulevard. The amendment calls for the realigned right-of-way to be 80 feet wide and contain a street section including a trail, sidewalk, four travel lanes and a median.
The council also unanimously approved, in the first of two votes, the creation of a new clean energy financing program that will probably be used for the stadium. According to Lani Silber Weiss, Potomac Baseball LLC’s president, the club is interested in using the loan program to finance energy-saving features such as LED lights, but no decisions on which green elements will be included have been made yet.
Under the terms of the proposal, a 5,000-seat ballpark would 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. If the plan moves forward, the ballpark could open as early as the 2020 season.
For the P-Nats, the proposed new Fredericksburg ballpark has been latest push in their effort to replace Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, VA. Discussions with Prince William County officials about a new ballpark in Woodbridge took place as recently as the summer of 2017, only to stall when the two sides could not come to terms on an agreement.
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