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Nearly 60 percent of private donations for North Hagerstown stadium repaid to county

August 12, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN -- Almost 60 percent of the private donations pledged to pay for Mike Callas Stadium have been paid back to Washington County, which is still owed nearly $1 million for the project, according to county Budget and Finance Director Debra S. Murray.

The stadium at North Hagerstown High School was completed in 2006.

According to county figures, Mike Callas Stadium cost more than $4,080,000, with about $1.76 million in local and state government funds.

Deputy Superintendent for Washington County Public Schools Boyd Michael said $900,000 of the total cost was spent on the unfinished track that surrounds the football field at the stadium. That includes about $750,000 in state Project Open Space money used for that purpose.

Murray said the county paid for the bulk of the stadium construction up front. Most of that money is to be paid back by the North Hagerstown High School Athletic Boosters by 2012.

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The athletic boosters is the nonprofit organization that is receiving the pledged donations and paying them back to the county. Washington County paid $3,330,000 for the stadium, with the bulk of that money being paid back over time.

The county has received $400,000 from the state of Maryland through bond bills that were paid to the county through the boosters, Murray said.

The City of Hagerstown was to pay $350,000 toward the stadium. Of that amount, $100,000 was through a five-year grant, and the city is to pay $20,000 per year.

Murray said the county has received $60,000 of the $100,000 it was owed through that grant. The remainder of the money owed by the city ($250,000) has been paid, she said.

The county commissioners gave $258,000 for the stadium out of the county's general fund, Murray said.

The boosters have paid back more than $1.36 million of the $2.32 million owed to the county in pledged donations, Murray said. That money was to be collected from donors who pledged money to the stadium.

Bill Griemsmann, who served as treasurer of the boosters for at least three years, said the Mike Callas Stadium committee got the pledged donations.

Murray said the boosters pay the county quarterly, and the $956,720 still owed to the county from the group is expected to be paid by 2012.

Griemsmann, who stopped his involvement with the boosters in July, said that when he left the organization the group was actively collecting contributions for the stadium.

"There's nothing out of line in a major way," he said. "Most of them are current."

Griemsmann would not reveal who donated money to the stadium, saying that all donor records are confidential.

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