Funding OK'd for Suns stadium study Hagerstown eyes new park at I-81-Route 58 crossing

October 29, 1998|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

The Hagerstown Suns, shut out in their efforts earlier this year to win county funding for a new ballpark, are hoping the election of some new commissioners next week and the results of an economic impact study may change the score next year.

The Maryland Stadium Authority yesterday gave formal approval to a $50,000 consulting contract with CSL International. The Minneapolis company, which has already started the job, will report as early as Dec. 1 on the feasibility of building a minor-league ballpark that would cost $8 million to $10 million.

Hagerstown will reimburse the state for the study's costs.

Plans for the new stadium call for 4,500 seats and up to a dozen luxury suites. It would be built on 68 acres of farmland on the city's west side, at the intersection of Interstate 81 and Route 58.

The Suns play at 68-year-old Municipal Stadium, the oldest professional ballpark in Maryland. The team is a Single-A, South Atlantic League affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

A proposal for a mix of city, county and state funding for a replacement field was defeated, 3-2, by the Washington County Board of Commissioners last February. Two of those commissioners, one a stadium supporter and one an opponent, are not seeking re-election.

"Some of the candidates are waiting to see what the study says," said team owner Winston Blenckstone.

A new plan calls for the team to pay $1.3 million toward the stadium, $1 million of which has already been pledged by a utility company in exchange for naming the park Allegheny Energy Field.

Of the remainder of the construction bill, the city and county would each contribute 25 percent and the state 50 percent.

Pub Date: 10/29/98

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