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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

HAGERSTOWN STADIUM TIMELINE


Note: All quoted information was taken from articles in the Herald-Mail newspaper.

DATE                                              ACTION

Sept [Oct] 2010         Hagerstown Baseball LLC (Bruce Quinn, Tony Dahbura, and Dr. Mitesh Kothari) buy the Suns.

Apr 5, 2011                 New scoreboard was installed at Municipal Stadium.

Apr 6, 2011                The Hagerstown City Council approved a list of nongame-day events that the new owners of the Suns plan to hold. According to the Herald Mail (HM), “The Suns sought to host additional events at the stadium to maximize its use, profitability and offerings for the community [multi-use facility concept was born], General Manager Bill Farley said. The new (Suns) ownership wanted to utilize it for more than just baseball."

July 22, 2011            Light pole fell onto the baseball field at Municipal Stadium during storm, causing the cancellation of the Hagerstown Suns' game.

Aug 5, 2011              Light pole replaced at Municipal Stadium, costing the city $30,000.

Oct 2011                    Owners receive letter from Major League Baseball and the Washington Nationals concerning facility improvements that would be required [They would be willing to allow the Suns to play at Municipal Stadium with an upgrade.] to keep the Suns in Hagerstown. They requested that “the stadium be brought to compliance for player, coach and fan safety” to provide an “ability to continue player development and MLB rehab assignments.”

Dec 13, 2011            City officials pledged to support keeping professional baseball in Hagerstown with a $140,000 annual contribution. That $140,000 commitment would not take effect for the 2012 baseball season
                                                
                                   Washington County Commissioners were for a funding commitment during the "citizens' participation" portion of their meeting, but  the commissioners offered no response.


Dec 17, 2011            The HM reported that the owners of the Hagerstown Suns would like to see construction on a $9 million to $10 million Municipal Stadium remodeling project beginning at the close of the 2012 baseball season:  “Earlier this year, the owners paid a national sports facility architectural firm to create a concept for an extreme makeover of the stadium, Dahbura said. Now, they have concept drawings, price estimates and a proposed funding model — and, as of Tuesday, a pledge of $140,000 a year from the Hagerstown City Council. The last missing piece is a funding commitment from Washington County, Dahbura said.”

FUNDING PROPOSAL AT THIS POINT: According to the HM, “The proposed funding model called for $200,000 a year from the county in hotel-motel tax revenue, $140,000 a year from the city in hotel-motel tax revenue and other nongeneral-fund sources, and $200,000 to $230,000 a year from the Suns, Dahbura said. Those payments would continue over the course of a 20- to 30-year bond, he said…While the proposed funding model includes only county, city and Suns funding, state support is another possibility and would reduce the amount the other funders would need to pay, Dahbura said.”

STADIUM VISION AT THIS POINT:  According to the HM, “For the $9 to $10 million price tag, the owners could rebuild the stadium on its current site, eliminating those issues, or build a smaller, yet still adequate stadium on another site, Dahbura said. The extreme makeover concept created this year includes a two-tiered, covered seating area, more efficient concessions, a larger clubhouse, more seats as opposed to bleachers, improved field grading and more Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.”

To improve parking if the stadium stayed at its current location, Dahbura said it's too early to provide an exact plan, but there are several possibilities, including city-owned property nearby….The City Light Department owns several acres on Eastern Boulevard along Antietam Creek that are a possibility for expanded stadium parking, though no formal discussions have been held, Dahbura said.”

Dec 20, 2011            Hagerstown City Council approved an additional $50,000 from its capital improvement program for stadium improvements during this fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2012. The city’s total stadium improvement expenditure would be the $50,000 plus the $30,000 already budgeted for a total of $80,000 on stadium improvements, he said.

Jan 19, 2012             Owners signed letter of intent with Winchester, VA. Winchester planned to fund project with 100% private investments.

NEW STADIUM VISION: A NEW MULTI-USE STADIUM BUILT ON BALTIMORE & SUMMIT STREETS.

NEW FUNDING PROPOSAL: $30M WITH ONE THIRD PAYED BY THE CITY, ONE THIRD PAYED BY THE COUNTY, AND ONE THIRD PAYED BY THE STATE…WITH POSSIBLY SOME SUNS INVESTMENT OR OTHER PRIVATE INVESTMENT.

What happened to the $9M plan to upgrade Municipal Stadium?

Feb 13, 2012             The Washington County Commissioners voted 3-2 to contribute up to $20,000 in county funds toward a stadium design study at a cost estimated at $36,000, to be split between the city and county.

Feb 14, 2012             Hagerstown City Councilman William M. Breichner tells the Herald Mail that officials were discussing the area of the Baltimore Street Station Car Wash and The Herald-Mail parking lot off Summit Avenue as one possible site.

Feb 21, 2012             Ripken Design Contracted to do a feasibility study

Mar 6, 2012               Project Committee formalized with areas of work including a feasibility study, preliminary site analysis, website creation, research, and benchmarking.

March 12, 2012        Winchester, VA City Council rejects land transfer for new stadium.

Apr 17, 2012             Conditions of Letter of Intent with Winchester, VA must be met to solidify the lease agreement.



Apr 17, 2012             Ripken Design Feasibility Study Presentation at joint session of Mayor & City Council, Washington County Commissioners, and the State Delegation (Senator Chris Shank and Delegates Andrew Serafini and John Donoghue).
                                    Prior to the meeting, the HM quoted majority owner Quinn as saying, “The Suns had no choice but to look for alternatives/new stadium to maintain the professional relationship with the Nationals and the SAL.”
Ripken reps said during the presentation that Municipal Stadium was not considered in this study due to “site constraints.”

May 1, 2012              Washington County Commissioners met to discuss a county funding commitment to a new stadium. They ultimately voted (3-2) to "indirectly" commit to $400,000 a year. Instead of "directly" committing $400,000 a year on a 20-year investment, they decided to take over the city's $400,000 payment for the new Emergency 911 Center indefinitely.

May 1, 2012              Hagerstown City Council voted unanimously to match the $400,000 commitment by the county. 
Aug 9, 2012               HM reports that it “is looking doubtful that Suns will move to 
                                     Winchester, VA.”

Aug 28, 2012            Opposition group present 910 signatures to mayor and city council.

Sept 4, 2012              Revealed during a City Council meeting that the Washington Nationals did not demand a new stadium, but were in fact willing to work with an upgrade of Municipal Stadium. It is not site constraints keeping the Suns from playing at Municipal Stadium. It is the owners of the Suns who are refusing to let the Suns play at the Municipal Stadium.
                                    
                                   They decide to have a round-table discussion as a community forum to provide a more “controlled and quiet discussion.”
                                    
                                    They discuss the possibility of giving [deceptive] tours of Municipal Stadium to point out to the community all of the deficiencies, with the intent of convincing them that the only viable option is a new stadium.

Sept 4, 2012              Coucilmember Lewis Metzner announces that there is a $15M anonymous donation for the new stadium, but only if it is built on Baltimore Street.

Sept 5, 2012              Hagerstown TEA Party sends out an Action Alert to ask people to write to mayor and council to ask them to change round-table forum to a truly open forum for the community meeting.

Sept 11, 2012           City Council decides to scrap the round-table discussion and hold an open forum for citizen comments on October 9, 2012
at 5:00 p.m.

City Council approves plan to hold tours of Municipal Stadium on September 19, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.

Sept 17, 2012           Hagerstown TEA Party sends out 2nd Action Alert asking people to write to Mayor and City Council to ask them to change the start time of the community meeting to begin at 6:30 when more people would be able to attend because at 5:00 people are still traveling home from work or eating dinner.

                                    HTP sends out an invitation to “all tea partiers” to attend the This-Is-Why-We-Can’t-Use-Municipal Stadium Tour, with signs showing their displeasure with the process, the refusal to consider using Municipal Stadium, the Suns demanding a new stadium, and/or the public funding for the project.

Sept 19, 2012           City gives This-is-Why-We-Can’t-Use-Municipal Stadium Tours beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Oct 9, 2012                Tentative date for community meeting regarding stadium, to be held at 5:00 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel on Dual Hwy.

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