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Committee says stadium plan has 'indications' of support

November 02, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

A committee promoting the construction of a new baseball stadium/railroad museum in or near Hagerstown has "indications" of support from individuals and companies that would be worth almost $1 million, the committee's chairman said Tuesday.

For example, one company probably would supply some of the labor if materials were provided, said Dick Phoebus, chairman of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce stadium task force.

He said that there are "no promises or contracts," but indications of support from individuals and companies that would give financial and in-kind contributions. He declined to identify those supporters.

The $1 million would represent one-third of the private funds needed to build a new stadium under the committee's proposal.

In addition to $3 million from private sources, the committee is calling for the city and Washington County governments to contribute $3 million each and the state to contribute $6 million.

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The proposed stadium and museum, being called the Hagerstown Roundhouse Sports Complex, would cost between $12 million and $15 million, including construction and land purchase costs, according to the committee's estimates.

Payment for the naming rights for a stadium would be counted as revenue, not as part of the private contribution to construction, Phoebus said.

Allegheny Energy has offered $1 million for the naming rights to a new stadium, but that offer could be affected by where a stadium is built since the company is looking for a stadium within its service area and close to an interstate.

Phoebus said a site for the complex has not been chosen.

He said the committee was looking at several sites, including two within the city, that would offer the chance for redevelopment.

Phoebus met with Hagerstown's Mayor and City Council on Tuesday to present the committee's plan for a stadium/railroad museum. He gave a similar presentation to the Washington County Commissioners last week.

Phoebus asked the mayor and council to support the proposal and create a joint city-county stadium authority to oversee the complex.

"It's hard for us to go forward without commitments from the city and county," Phoebus said.

Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein said city staff would need to do a "financial analysis" of the proposal.

Councilman J. Wallace McClure said it appeared a majority of the council backed the proposal, but he was against it.

"I see no reason for a new stadium," McClure said.

The council did not say when they would get back to Phoebus with a decision.

"We need to do this in the next couple months," Phoebus said.

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