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Ag center may get Memorial Stadium bleachers

January 30, 1998

By LAURA ERNDE

Staff Writer

The Washington County Agricultural Education Center is poised to get a 2,000-seat section of bleachers from Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.

Two county agricultural groups have pledged $38,500 to buy the bleachers, said former state Del. Peter G. Callas, who negotiated the deal.

Volunteers will go to Baltimore this weekend to explore how to dismantle them and bring them back to the ag center near Sharpsburg.

"This will be nice for Hagerstown to have a piece of Memorial Stadium," Callas said.

The Washington County Ag Expo board of directors and the Washington County Tractor Pull Association will have seven years to pay for the aluminum and steel bleachers, which are barely a year old, Callas said.

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"We're excited about this because we didn't have to go to the county and ask for any county money," he said.

The bleachers will come in handy for tractor pulls and other agricultural events.

It also will allow the ag center to host other outdoor activities that require seating, like music or drama.

"It's a good opportunity for the ag center," said board president John Staub.

Another 2,000 spectators can sit on the terraced lawn across from where the bleachers will go, he said.

Callas, who is on the ag center board, began lobbying for the bleachers when he heard they were available last month.

Before the bleacher deal goes through, a few details need to be worked out, he said.

The site needs to be surveyed to make sure it can handle the weight of the bleachers.

A formal agreement also needs to be signed with the Maryland Stadium Authority.

The authority is selling a total of 12,000 seats in the 44-year-old stadium, said Eli Eisenberg, who is in charge of the sale.

The bleachers were installed shortly before the Ravens' football team arrived in 1996, he said.

Schools in Harford, Howard and Queene Anne's counties have bought sections.

Eisenberg also is negotiating with two schools on the Eastern Shore, he said.

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