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Suns' owner stays mum on stadium fixup

August 18, 2000

Suns' owner stays mum on stadium fixup



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


Hagerstown Suns owner Winston Blenckstone said Friday it's too early to say whether he would support a major renovation or a "complete revamp" of Municipal Stadium instead of a new sports complex.

Meanwhile, Allegheny Energy might have to withdraw its offer to pay $1 million for stadium naming rights if a new stadium isn't built, spokesman Guy Fletcher said.

When offering the naming rights, Allegheny had two requirements: that the stadium be highly visible, preferably from an interstate, and that it be inside the company service area, Fletcher said.

Neither would be true at Municipal Stadium. If renovation is seriously pursued the company might have to reconsider its offer, he said.

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Stadium task force chairman Richard Phoebus said Thursday the task force is looking at the possibility of a renovation as an alternative to building a proposed $15 million stadium and railroad museum complex.

Blenckstone said his understanding is that the plan under consideration would result in a "complete revamp" and not just renovations.

There has not been enough information gathered for Blenckstone to be specific about what improvements and changes would be made, he said. He needs to know more before he will announce whether the changes are sufficient for him to keep the team in Hagerstown.

Blenckstone has previously said he will sell the team if a new stadium is not built or if the matter goes to referendum.

Since his team will be the major tenant of a new or improved stadium, it's only appropriate that he have veto power over the possible renovation, he said.

Phoebus said if Blenckstone shoots down the idea the task force would need to develop a new plan. There are no estimates of the cost of a renovation.

A "stadium summit" scheduled for Aug. 25 has been postponed until at least October, Hagerstown City Councilman Al Boyer said.

Hagerstown City Councilman J. Wallace McClure had requested the summit so he could lay out conditions for approving the proposed stadium and railroad museum complex. McClure said he doesn't mind waiting for a renovation plan to be developed.

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