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Stadium group to propose funding

April 20, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Stadium supporters say a May 2 joint meeting of the City Council and County Commissioners may be a chance to cement funding commitments from Hagerstown and Washington County elected officials.

Councilman Alfred W. Boyer, who is a member of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce stadium task force, said Wednesday that the group will unveil its latest funding plan and new preferred stadium site at the May 2 meeting.

The task force proposed and is leading the push for a $12 million to $15 million Hagerstown Roundhouse and Sports Complex, which would be a combination baseball stadium and railroad museum.

The stadium would become the new home field for the Hagerstown Suns, the minor league team that plays at Municipal Stadium.

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Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said Wednesday that the funding plan will include contributions from the private sector and the owners of the Suns.

Boyer said he is hopeful the commissioners and council will agree on specific funding commitments to pay for pre-construction studies as well as the overall construction cost.

Bruchey said the meeting should bring "some finalization" to funding plans.

Pre-construction work, which would include site analysis and engineering drawings, is expected to cost $250,000 to $500,000.

The City Council has agreed to fund construction of a new stadium at the same level as the city subsidizes Municipal Stadium, which is estimated to be about $120,000 annually.

The County Commissioners do not have money for stadium plans in their current or proposed budgets. They have yet to decide how to spend some of the proceeds from a recently approved hotel tax increase. The county is expected to have about $300,000 a year from the tax to put toward economic development projects such as a new stadium.

Bruchey and Boyer declined to say what site is being considered as the preferred site for a stadium. Previously mentioned potential sites include land along Interstates 70 and 81 and along Wesel Boulevard near the intersection with Burhans Boulevard.

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