Work on a new Hagerstown ballpark proceeds, but the Atlantic League facility will now open for the 2024 season and not 2023, as previously anticipated.
The $70-million downtown Hagerstown ballpark is backed by the Maryland Stadium Authority, with the expansion team to be owned by Howard “Blackie” Bowen, Don Bowman, James Holzapfel and Frank Boulton. It replaces Municipal Stadium as home of pro baseball in the Maryland community.
There had been hope the ballpark could open in time for the 2023 Atlantic League season, but the project hit a few snags along the way. The most recent, and one that seems to be close to being resolved, is the acquisition of a 1.3-acre parcel currently hosting the Hagerstown Auto Spa, appraised at $1.7 million. From the Baltimore Sun:
Designs have yet to be finished, but demolition and utility work are expected to begin in September, as long as nothing unforeseen arises in the car wash purchase. The stadium authority recently approved a $7 million contract for Turner Construction Co. to begin such work.
The construction timeline, about a year and a half, is tight, especially since inflation and supply chain issues could complicate the project. Gary McGuigan [of the MSA] called it “aggressive, but doable.”
“It’s gonna mean everything needs to go right to get it ready for 2024,” McGuigan said.
The ballpark has been pitched as a multiuse facility, hosting plenty of community events (concerts, weddings, graduations) in addition to Atlantic League ball. The MSA is authorized to issue up to $59.5 million in bonds to finance the acquisition, design, construction and related expenses for the facility. Additionally, Governor Larry Hogan’s supplemental budget provided $8.5 million dollars towards this effort, while the General Assembly designated another $1.5 million in the 2023 Capital Budget for the project.
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