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Sun's owner to discuss future of baseball in county

March 10, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Hagerstown Suns owner Winston Blenckstone will hold a press conference early next week to discuss the "future of minor league baseball in Washington County," according to a statement the team issued Thursday.

Suns General Manager David Blenckstone, son of the owner, said the press conference will probably be Tuesday or Wednesday. He declined to elaborate on the details of the press conference.

The statement mentioned the effort to get a new baseball stadium built in Hagerstown. The Suns, a Class A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, would the primary tenant of a new stadium.

The Suns now play at Municipal Stadium, which was built in 1931 and is owned by the City of Hagerstown.

"To this date, there is no formal funding plan in place, nor has a site been identified for a new facility," the Suns' statement reads.

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A task force of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce has developed a plan for a combination stadium and railroad museum, which would be called the Hagerstown Roundhouse and Sports Complex.

The complex is expected to cost $12 million to $15 million, and construction would be paid for with government and private funds. But an exact funding plan has yet to be worked out.

The City of Hagerstown has committed about $120,000 a year and the Washington County Commissioners have said they would contribute an equal amount, using funds from a proposed doubling of the county hotel-motel tax.

The Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill to raise the county hotel-motel tax to 6 percent.

Stadium supporters are hoping the city and/or county can come up with more money.

Property along the north side of Wesel Boulevard near Burhans Boulevard has been identified as the preferred site for a new stadium complex.

But, David Blenckstone said no land has been purchased.

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