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Stadium study a costly endeavor

September 14, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

The City of Hagerstown will pay $44,500 plus expenses for a Minneapolis firm to conduct a feasibility study for a new minor league baseball stadium, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said.

The Maryland Stadium Authority, which is in charge of the study, recommended the firm Conventions Sports and Leisure for the study, Zimmerman said.

City Council members at a July 7 work session agreed to use funds from the Community Betterment Fund for the study, but will formalize that decision with a vote on Sept. 22, Zimmerman said.

With expenses, the contract is expected to cost approximately $50,000, he said.

City officials are trying to secure grant funds to be used toward the cost and officials with the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce have indicated a willingness to help pay for the study, Zimmerman said.

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The study is expected to be started by the end of this month and to be completed by Nov. 19, he said. City officials need the study's results before the Maryland General Assembly begins its legislative session in January if they want to ask for state funding for a stadium.

The economic impact of a new stadium, including construction and tourism, and the expenses and revenues of operating a stadium will be analyzed in the study, Zimmerman said.

The study also will look at whether there's demand for a new stadium and to what extent, whether land near Interstate 81 on the city's West End is an appropriate site, and what kind of facilities the stadium should have, such as the number of seats, picnic facilities and other amenities, he said.

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