Officials Hesitant To Spend $3m On Baseball Stadium

April 12, 1991|By Paul Shread | Paul Shread,Staff writer

Annapolis and county officials want to make sure a minor-league baseball team would turn a profit before they spend $3 million on a new stadium.

A group of 12 city and county officials and business leaders met yesterday to work on a proposal to lure a Class AAA baseball team to Anne Arundel County. But before the group makes an offer, members want to make sure that any public money invested will be returned.

"If it won't pay for itself, there's a real hesitancy to go forward," said Alderman Dean Johnson, I-Ward 2. "We have enough problems as things are."

Annapolis and Bowie are on a list of nine finalistsfor as many as four new AAA baseball teams. Businessman Peter Kirk of Columbia, part-owner of minor-league teams in Hagerstown and Frederick, hopes to bring a team either to Anne Arundel County or to PrinceGeorge's County.

The AAA Alliance Expansion Committee, the group that will decide which communities will get teams, will visit the area between May 15 and June 15. The new teams are expected to be pickedat a Class AAA owners' meeting in September.

Under Kirk's proposal, his group, the Maryland Baseball Limited Partnership, would pay $6million to buy the baseball franchise. The group also would put $1.5million toward the cost of a new 10,000-seat stadium, which would cost an estimated $9 million.

The state has already pledged $4.5 million toward the cost of a new stadium.

Prince George's County, which is competing with Annapolis for the franchise, already has pledged$3 million toward the stadium. Bowie is considered the front-runner for the new team.

Under a proposal made by Annapolis officials, the city would put up the bulk of the $3 million. The city also would donate the land for the stadium, near the city landfill and water supply in Crownsville. The county has not decided whether it would contribute to the effort.

Johnson said the group probably won't be ready to make a proposal until June 1. He said Kirk probably will decide between Annapolis and Bowie in July.

The city would turn only a small profit on the stadium. But proponents say a team would bring $20 million a year into the Annapolis area.

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