Business park at stadium site said to cost too much

April 20, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

It would be too expensive to build a business park near the site of a proposed baseball stadium for the Hagerstown Suns along Interstate 81 and Salem Avenue in Hagerstown, said Merle Elliott, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation Inc., known as CHIEF.

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"We can't make those numbers work," Elliott told the Washington County Commissioners and Hagerstown City Council during a joint meeting Tuesday.

Despite the CHIEF report on the proposed $15 million business park/stadium, dubbed the Home Run Business Park, the report did not deter supporters of a new stadium.

"It's pretty black and white that that site is not the best possible site for a business park," Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said.


"We are continuing to explore every issue on the stadium," Bruchey said. "This is just weeding out the possibilities."

Although linked in a city proposal, the stadium and business park are separate issues and the stadium project can move ahead, Bruchey said.

County Commissioner Paul L. Swartz, another supporter of a new stadium, said the proposed site along Interstate 81 wasn't his first choice anyway.

Swartz said he will continue pushing for a new stadium first, and look into the possibility of a new business park.

A new baseball stadium would become home field for the Hagerstown Suns, a Class A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The team plays at Hagerstown's Municipal Stadium on Memorial Boulevard, which was built in the early 1930s.

"I hope we keep moving in the right direction," Swartz said. "I got faith."

The CHIEF study looked at the estimated cost of buying the 68 acres at Interstate 81 and Salem Avenue and preparing that land for development as a business park, including the cost of extending water and sewer lines to the property and building new roads. CHIEF compared that figure to the estimated price for which the land could be sold, Elliott said.

The purchase cost of the land was greatly underestimated by City Planning Department officials who put together the Home Run Business Park proposal, Elliott said.

In February, the County Commissioners and some city officials asked CHIEF to conduct an economic feasibility study of a business park at that site.

The commissioners said they wanted more information on the proposed business park/stadium before committing to the plan.

CHIEF has built four industrial parks in the county, most recently the Newgate Industrial Park in Hopewell Valley.

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