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Report Due on Potential New Hagerstown Suns Ballpark

Hagerstown SunsThe future of a new Hagerstown Suns (Low A; Sally League) ballpark could be back in play, as the Maryland Stadium Authority is expected to announce conclusions from a market and site assessment.

The Suns currently play at outdated Municipal Stadium, and no one seems happy with the arrangement: the team would prefer a new downtown ballpark, while the city would rather see the Municipal Stadium site converted for use by youth athletics. There have been several runs at a new downtown ballpark over the years, with local government officials also arguing for a downtown location as an economic-development tool.

City economic-development officials have reviewed drafts of the Maryland Stadium Authority plan, which identifies potential ballpark locations, either downtown or close to downtown. Eight locations were part of the initial drafts; three are likely to be seriously discussed. Mayor Bob Bruchey — a former Suns employee between stints as mayor — is an advocate for a new ballpark. From the Herald-Mail:

Bruchey, a proponent of a downtown stadium in the past, said he did not know what sites were being considered, but he’s optimistic the stadium authority’s involvement could help identify a viable deal.

“Every time that this project has come up in the past … we seem to get closer to actually bringing a project to fruition,” Bruchey said. “I’m hoping this time that we’ve actually gotten there and I believe with (Dan Spedden’s) leadership on this, he’s taken the right steps to ensure we’re doing it the right way. That’s why I put that ball in his court. After all, this is about tourism.”…

The city council last year agreed — by a 3-2 vote — to have the stadium authority complete an initial market and feasibility study for $36,000. The cost was to be split between the city, the tourism bureau and the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation, or CHIEF.

Again, nothing is imminent, and the result will be the starting point for discussions of a new ballpark.

Editor’s note: Ballpark Digest managing editor Zach Spedden is the son of Dan Spedden, the local tourism official involved in this effort. Zach Spedden was not involved in the preparation of this article.

RELATED STORIES: Hagerstown Could Make Another Run at New Suns Ballpark; New Hagerstown Suns Ballpark Discussions Renewed

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