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Municipal Stadium makeover unveiled

April 08, 2006|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Baseball fans who attend the Hagerstown Suns' home opener Monday will see a larger entrance plaza, a souvenir shop they can actually enter and a beefier "Woolie," among other things.

Officials from the Suns, the City of Hagerstown and Hagerstown Trust unveiled Municipal Stadium's $115,000 makeover Friday, days before the team's season opener.

The new entrance plaza will be called the Hagerstown Trust Plaza, after the Suns' corporate sponsor, said Suns General Manager Kurt Landes.

The City of Hagerstown paid for the renovations.

To create the plaza, workers took a 2,000-square-foot chunk out of what used to be the parking lot and built a new ticket stand, souvenir shop and fan support area, said Junior Mason, the city's park superintendent.

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Before, the stadium's concession stand was nothing more than a window next to the concession stand, Landes said.

"You had to stand outside and point at what you wanted," Landes said.

The new shop, a bit larger than a garage, has a flat screen television and an ATM.

The old ticket stand was beneath the bleachers, Landes said. "Before, when you went in, you turn right or left there still wasn't much space," he said.

The new and improved team mascot, "Woolie," bobbled through the crowd during the ribbon cutting ceremony Friday.

The caterpillar, now 200 pounds heavier and 7 inches taller, made its debut Tuesday during the Suns' exhibition game against Hagerstown Community College.

Several city officials and representatives from Hagerstown Trust attended Friday's ceremony.

"I can't wait for the ump to say 'play ball,'" Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said during Friday's ceremony.

Bruchey said the Hagerstown Suns are Washington County's greatest tourist attraction, bringing in around $6 million a year.

Councilmembers Lewis C. Metzner and Kelly S. Cromer also attended the ceremony.

There have been talks in the past about building a new stadium, the reason councilwoman Penny May Nigh questioned the completion of the plaza in August, when the city listed the project as one of its many goals.

Nigh, according to published reports, said that it was it senseless to make improvements to the current stadium if there were plans to build a new one.

The city has spent $700,000 on the stadium over the past five years, according to published reports.

However, city officials at the ribbon cutting said that the city has not discussed any plans to build a new stadium.

"For that to happen, there would have to be a joint coordination with the state and county," Metzner said. "You would need the state delegates to step in."

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