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Hagerstown City Council extends lease offer with Suns

November 13, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

With its current lease with the Hagerstown Suns set to expire Dec. 31, city officials are extending the agreement to allow the team to play at Municipal Stadium for two more seasons.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue presented a copy of the proposed lease extension to the Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday.

“For Suns baseball to continue in Hagerstown, (the lease) needs to be extended,” he told the council. “The Suns have asked that we do that for two additional seasons.”

The four city council members in attendance gave their informal go-ahead for city staff to extend the lease. Councilwoman Ashley C. Haywood was absent.

There will be no change from the current lease that was signed in 2007, except that the Suns have requested a clause that states the agreement may be terminated by either party without penalty with at least 90 days notice, Tissue said.

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“It gives the city and it gives the Suns the ability to leave or to break the lease with 90 days notice,” Tissue said after the meeting. “If they found another home or the city wants to build them another facility ... this gives them the ability to leave in 90 days.”

The extension, which runs from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2014, will still need final approval Nov. 20 before it goes into effect.

Under the current agreement, the Suns pay $1 per year to play at the 82-year-old ballpark and the city is responsible for maintenance and utility costs.

During a brief conversation, Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the measure is simply out of necessity, not because the current administration wants to rush it through before the new mayor and council take office later this month.

“This is really nothing but a good faith effort for everybody to say we would like to continue working with the Suns and continue playing in Municipal Stadium until we can provide a new home for them or they find a new home,” Metzner said. “But it is nothing that binds a new administration.”

The lease could be voided by the Suns if they do not receive a new player-development contract with the Washington Nationals or if professional baseball disallows the use of Municipal Stadium as a qualified playing site, Tissue said.

No Suns officials were present at the meeting.

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