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Councilman says costs make new stadium 'unrealistic'

November 22, 2000

Councilman says costs make new stadium 'unrealistic'



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


Plans for building a new baseball stadium at the site of the existing Hagerstown Municipal Stadium are unrealistic and won't work, City Councilman Alfred W. Boyer said Wednesday.

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When asked about chances of getting a new stadium in the foreseeable future or keeping minor league baseball in Hagerstown, Boyer said, "It doesn't look good."

Boyer said it's "probably a good possibility" that the effort to build a new baseball stadium is over but supporters will keep trying.

There are no plans to consider building a stadium at another site, he said.

A private stadium task force will continue looking for ways to retain minor league baseball in Hagerstown, but the idea of putting a stadium at the existing stadium site has to be shelved, at least for now, according to a city statement issued at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

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The task force had proposed building a new stadium at the Municipal Stadium site for $15 million, but the plan was contingent on receiving funding from the Hagerstown City Council and the Washington County Commissioners.

County Commissioners Bert L. Iseminger and John L. Schnebly, whose support was critical for the project to move ahead, made their support contingent on the purchase of land occupied by the Hagerstown Spring Works and Fitness Priority, which is adjacent to the stadium.

That demand increased the project cost by as much as $2.5 million, said task force Chairman Richard Phoebus.

New right and left field bleachers also would add to the cost, said Boyer, who also is on the task force. The new estimates came in Monday.

"These estimated costs exceed $18 million and make it unaffordable to proceed with the project as previously conceived," Boyer said. "The projected costs and financial risk to the City of Hagerstown make construction of a new stadium at the present site unrealistic."

Schnebly said the news that the task force is stopping work on the present site is not a problem with him.

He planned to call the people involved in the project Monday to tell them that he can't support the project.

There are other very worthy projects the county is being asked to support, including city-county joint projects, which he feels are more deserving of his support at this point, he said.

The Hagerstown Suns have a lease on the stadium through next year.

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