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Team owners pledge millions for stadium

February 03, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

HALFWAY - Mandalay Sports Entertainment has pledged several million dollars to build a new baseball stadium that could be part of the revitalization of Hagerstown's East End, the president of a nonprofit development organization said Wednesday.

"I'm talking about in the multi-seven-figure number, not in the hundreds of thousands," Richard W. Phoebus Sr., the president of the Hagerstown Neighborhood Development Partnership, said.

Mandalay Sports Entertainment owns the Hagerstown Suns.

Although past Suns' owners have lobbied for a new stadium to replace the aging Municipal Stadium, none ever offered so much money, Phoebus said, addressing a Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the Plaza Hotel in Halfway.

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One possible wrinkle is whether the Suns stay in Hagerstown. Mandalay is pitching a plan to move the Suns to South Carolina and build a new stadium there, but has promised to bring Hagerstown a new team if that happens.

Rich Neumann, the vice president of development for Mandalay Baseball Properties, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

A comprehensive study on developing Hagerstown's East End - with, possibly, a new stadium and a conference center - should be finished within two weeks, Phoebus said.

The $70,000 study will take a long-range look at how best to shape the neighborhood, he said.

Another focal point of the study will be the land where Washington County Hospital now sits, should the hospital move to Robinwood Drive.

"That probably is some of the most valuable property in the city of Hagerstown," Phoebus said.

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