Advertisement

'Very positive' meeting held between Fredericksburg, Va., and Suns officials

July 30, 2013|By C.J. LOVELACE and DAVE McMILLION | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com and davem@herald-mail.com
  • Hagerstown Suns' Tony Renda tags the Shorebirds' Gregory Lorenzo out in this Herald-Mail file photo. Officials in Fredericksburg, Va., are in the process of developing a new proposal that would bring the Hagerstown Suns to town, and "everything is on the table," according to a city councilman there.
Herald-Mail file photo

HAGERSTOWN — A “very positive” meeting was held Tuesday night between city officials in Fredericksburg, Va., and the Hagerstown Suns, although it was not conducted as originally planned, according to a city councilman involved in the talks.

 During the meeting, representatives of the minor league baseball team and city officials presented their options for a possible stadium deal, Fredericksburg City Councilman Fred Howe said.

“It was a very positive presentation, over all, on both sides,” Howe said.

Participating in the meeting were Howe, Vice Mayor Brad Ellis, City Manager Beverly R. Cameron, Suns majority owner Bruce Quinn and others associated with Quinn, Howe said.

The attendees parted after agreeing to “put some numbers” to what was discussed, Howe said.

There will be another meeting in about a week, and if both sides make it through that, a city negotiating team — which includes Howe, Ellis and Cameron  — could have a draft agreement to present to the Fredericksburg city council on Aug. 13, according to Howe.

“There will be no negotiations as a council committee,” Howe said Tuesday morning before the meeting. “... But then we take it, hopefully, to the next level.”

A city attorney raised concerns Monday that Fredericksburg’s elected body could violate state public information laws by holding a closed-door meeting with the team, which Howe said was a bit confusing.

“As long as it’s two people, we meet informally ... all the time on business development, real estate, you name it,” he said.

“We can’t negotiate in closed session,” Howe said. “We want to do it legally and by the book, so we’re not accused of doing things behind closed doors.”

As vice mayor, Ellis is one of six council members on the seven-person elected body, in addition to Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw. Each has a vote in city business.

Howe said the city is being “overly cautious” to ensure that, if an agreement can be reached, it can move forward quickly.

“We put everything we can on the table, as much as we can, and we’ll hopefully come back and negotiate this thing out,” he said.

The Suns might decide to accept one of the city’s options proposed Tuesday, reject them entirely or pursue further negotiations.

The Suns are a low-level Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

Meanwhile, there has been support for building a stadium in downtown Hagerstown to keep  the baseball team here.

Although other locations, including the former Washington County Hospital site and Hager Park next to Memorial Stadium, have been discussed, they are not under serious consideration, according to Hagerstown Councilman Lewis C. Metzner.

  The Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission has officially joined the effort to keep the Suns in Hagerstown by hand-delivering a letter to Quinn pledging to lobby the city, county and state for a new downtown stadium.

Advertisement
The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|