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Stadium sites under state review

June 07, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

The Maryland Stadium Authority is reviewing potential sites for a proposed $15 million minor league baseball stadium and railroad museum complex for Hagerstown, Richard Phoebus, chairman of the private committee promoting the project, said Wednesday.

The sites being considered include the city's Municipal Stadium, land along Wesel Boulevard near the intersection with Burhans Boulevard, which was a previous preferred site for a new stadium, and the current preferred site, which is behind the Centre at Hagerstown near the U.S. 40 and Interstate 81 interchange, Phoebus said.

Phoebus, chairman of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce's stadium task force that developed the proposed Hagerstown Roundhouse and Sports Complex, made his remarks at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast Wednesday morning at the Four Points Hotel.

Phoebus said representatives from the Maryland Stadium Authority said Monday they were reviewing other potential sites. The stadium authority presented six possible sites, three of which were discarded as impractical, he said.

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The sites deemed impractical included land around the city's police department headquarters on Burhans Boulevard, and an area that includes the West End Little League field along U.S. 40.

The sites being seriously considered by the stadium authority are the land along Wesel Boulevard, the Municipal Stadium property and the land behind the Centre at Hagerstown, Phoebus said.

He said the stadium authority is looking at the sites to make sure the task force has considered all the alternatives.

He said the land behind the shopping center remains the preferred site, but didn't know whether that would change once the stadium authority completes the review. Phoebus said the cost of the property could prompt the task force to drop the site from consideration.

An appraisal of the property is being done. Phoebus said the current estimate for the land is $1 million to $2 million.

"If the appraisal came at $3 million it would make it difficult," he said.

The Hagerstown City Council and Washington County Commissioners have conditionally committed to help fund stadium construction. Under the funding plan, each government would contribute $3 million expected to come from 20-year bonds issued by the city.

The bonds would be paid off with $250,000 annual contributions from both the city and county, costing each government $5 million over 20 years. The county contribution would come from a portion of the proceeds of an increase to the county hotel tax.

Phoebus said the hope is to get at least $6 million from the state and at least $3 million from the private sector to help pay for construction.

The primary tenant of a new stadium would be the Hagerstown Suns, a Class A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

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