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Stadium site decision due

September 19, 2000

Stadium site decision due



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


The location of a proposed baseball stadium for Hagerstown probably will be decided Monday, but a public announcement of that decision may not come until the next joint meeting of Hagerstown and Washington County elected officials on Oct. 17, City Engineer Bruce Johnston said Tuesday.

Also expected for the October meeting are revised cost estimates for the project and drawings of the proposed stadium, said Johnston, who represented the private group pushing the stadium plan before a joint city-county meeting Tuesday.

The stadium proposal is being spearheaded by a task force of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

City Councilman Alfred W. Boyer, a member of the stadium task force, said Tuesday there probably will be no information released after the Monday meeting.

The current studies of sites and revised cost estimates, which are being overseen by the Maryland Stadium Authority, are primarily being paid with city and county funds.

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Johnston said the existing stadium site is still being considered as a potential site for a new stadium.

"At this point we're not ruling out any new sites," Johnston said.

Previously mentioned potential sites include land behind the Centre at Hagerstown near the Interstate 81 and U.S. 40 interchange, and property along Wesel Boulevard near the intersection with Burhans Boulevard.

To this point, the task force's stadium plan called for construction of a $15 million ballpark and railroad museum complex called the Hagerstown Roundhouse and Sports Complex. The preferred site for the complex was the land near the Centre at Hagerstown.

City Councilman J. Wallace McClure asked Johnston why the task force was reconsidering the location.

"Primarily cost," said Johnston, who did not elaborate.

Majorities of the city and county elected bodies have already endorsed each contributing $250,000 a year for up to 20 years toward stadium construction. Those contributions would be expected to cover two $3 million loans, which would cost them $5 million each when debt service costs are included.

State and private funds would be expected to pay the rest of the construction costs.

County Commissioners who called for the Tuesday meeting to receive an update on the private fund-raising efforts, were told fund-raising for stadium construction is on hold until a specific stadium plan is selected.

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