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Maryland Assembly approves new Hagerstown ballpark for Atlantic League team

Atlantic League 2018The Maryland General Assembly has approved a bill allowing the Maryland Stadium Authority to issue bonds for a new Hagerstown ballpark to be leased by an Atlantic League team.

The bill has now been sent to the desk of Governor Larry Hogan for this signature.

Technically, the measure approves funding for a new Multi-Use Sports and Event Facility within the City of Hagerstown. Specifically, the bill authorizes the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) to issue up to $59.5 million in bonds to finance the acquisition, design, construction and related expenses to construct the Multi-Use Sports & Events facility, according to a city press release. In addition, Hogan has put $8.5 million dollars in the most recent supplemental budget towards this effort, and the General Assembly has earmarked an additional $1.5 million in the recently passed Capital Budget towards this project as well. 

No firm plans on an opening date, though 2023 is the likeliest debut as of now.

Once the Maryland Stadium Authority has completed the design and subsequent construction process, the Ffacility will be owned and operated by the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation (CHIEF). In addition to serving as the home of a new MLB Partner League team in the Atlantic League, the facility will host other sports, entertainment, and community events.

“The passage of this bill represents a generational opportunity to transform the trajectory of our community for future generations in a way we have never seen before,” said Senator Paul Corderman, a sponsor of the bill. “I appreciate the support of Governor Hogan, Senate President Ferguson, House Speaker Jones, Chair Guy Guzzone of the Budget & Tax Committee, Chair Maggie McIntosh of the Appropriations Committee, and my fellow colleagues in the General Assembly in supporting and delivering this tremendous economic development opportunity for our community.”

In February it was revealed that local businessman Howard “Blackie” Bowen, CEO and chairman of the board of Ewing Oil Co., would lead the ownership group. “I’m very excited for the opportunity to bring a locally-owned, Atlantic League expansion team to Hagerstown,” Bowen said via press statement. “In addition to being a home for this elite professional baseball league, we look forward to using the Hagerstown Multi-Use Sports & Events Facility to host hundreds of other family friendly events each year. The facility will serve as a community gathering place for decades to come, while acting as a catalyst for new investment in the area. I want to thank Senator Corderman for his heroic work in getting this historic legislation passed so this project can be funded without using any local money.”

The Hagerstown Suns (Low A; Sally League) was a longtime MiLB franchise, but the team was not asked to be part of MLB’s reorganization of the minor leagues for the 2020 season.

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