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Suns owner to meet with Hagerstown officials Tuesday

December 10, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com
  • Suns Majority Owner Bruce Quinn
File photo

With the city’s proposal to build a downtown stadium seemingly stalling, Hagerstown Suns majority owner Bruce Quinn will meet with the Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday to discuss alternative measures to try to keep the team in town, Hagerstown Mayor David S. Gysberts said Monday.

“I think that’s our goal for Tuesday,” said Gysberts, who said he called Quinn on Friday to ask if he would be willing to come and speak to the city council in open session about options.

“We’re not giving up,” Gysberts said about trying to find a suitable location for the Suns to play.

A revised city council agenda for Tuesday’s work session, beginning at 4:30 p.m., was sent out Monday morning listing “Hagerstown Suns — Bruce Quinn” as the second item to be discussed, at about 5:15 p.m.

After Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said on Dec. 4 that the $15 million private donation for the downtown multiuse facility doesn’t appear to be coming through as was planned, Gysberts and city council members stressed that they would still consider ideas for a potential “Plan B” in case the $37 million stadium proposal near the corner of West Baltimore Street and Summit Avenue falls apart.

“Baltimore Street is not the option for me,” Councilwoman Penny Nigh said Monday, calling Quinn’s visit a “wait-and-see” situation.

“This has been a game,” she said. “So now what’s he trying to prove?”

Metzner said Monday that he only knows what the mayor has told him about the meeting — that Quinn will be present for a discussion.

“I think the Suns very much want to make a public statement and enter into public discussions with us,” he said. “I’m very much looking forward to hearing what they have to say.”

Although he hasn’t spoken to Suns officials directly, Metzner said he has heard from “second-hand” sources that it appears the team wants to stay in Hagerstown.

The city voted last month to extend the team’s current lease agreement to play at Municipal Stadium for two more years.

The lease terms are the same as the previous deal — the team pays $1 per year in rent to play at the 82-year-old ballpark while the city picks up the tab for utilities and maintenance — except a clause was added to allow either party the ability to void the contract without penalty provided at least 90 days notice is given.

Quinn has remained in the background for the past few months as city officials have examined the feasibility of building a stadium downtown. He has not returned several phone calls seeking comment for previous stories.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda is a discussion about the former Municipal Electric Light Plant property, which is near Municipal Stadium at the intersection of Eastern Boulevard and Mt. Aetna Road.

City officials have said for more than a year that demolishing the abandoned MELP building on the 3-acre property is a priority, and it’s been brought up in recent talks about alternative plans for a new or renovated Suns’ facility.

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