The community meeting concerning the new Suns stadium is officially scheduled for October 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm, located at the Clarion Hotel on Dual Highway. I am so pleased that the mayor and council changed the time from 5:00 to 6:00 to give people more time to travel from their workplace and participate in this discussion.
However! Yes, however, I wish that it was more of a discussion rather than a sales pitch. The truth is that the powers that be have already come to a conclusion and now they are merely selling it to the community. The community, also known as the taxpayer and host to this new Suns stadium, has been left pretty much in the dark throughout this process. A community meeting, if it was truly meant to not only get the feedback of the community but also to consider it, should have been held at the beginning of the process. Another meeting halfway through the negotiations with the Suns owners and setting a plan for funding was in order as well. The community should have been told that the Suns owners were demanding a new stadium, not the Washington Nationals. Instead, it was none of our (residents and taxpayers) business! Now that the negotiations have obviously run their course and surveyors are seen on-site, the mayor and council now proceed to sell their deal to the public. It was a sales pitch from the start with the made-to-order Ripken Study and it remains a sales pitch with a salesman at the helm. The process had been flawed from the beginning and consequently has bred suspicion.
Upgrading the Municipal Stadium...non-negotiable! Building it near an interstate...non-negotiable! Private funding...non-negotiable! The plan, or deal, is going to be "presented" with no counter presentation for upgrading Municipal Stadium, no counter-presentation for another site, and no-counter presentation on funding. It's is a sales pitch. The website is promotional. It is an insult to the people of Hagerstown and to the taxpayer.
Personally, as vice-president of the Hagerstown TEA Party, I am only concerned with the funding plan. As president of Neighborhoods 1st Locust Point, I am concerned with how the proposed site will affect my community. As a board member of the Board of Traffic and Parking I am concerned with traffic flow and adequate parking regarding this project. It is as a homeowner and taxpayer of the City of Hagerstown that I am outraged that myself and others like me have been completely left out of the process.
I guess we should be grateful that they are giving us their presentation and allowing us to speak. I would really be grateful if someone was allowed to present researched facts, case studies, and statistics that gives the community something else to consider, to weigh, to determine if it is worth the risk to proceed. Someone like Jonathan Burrs who has done the research could give a counter presentation. Then let the community take all of the information and come to a conclusion that they are comfortable with. You may say, "But he is running for City Council!" Yes, and the mayor is running for re-election and so are the incumbent council members! If after hearing both sides, the residents and taxpayers of this city overwhelmingly want to proceed as spelled out for them by mayor and council...so be it. I just think that the public deserves all of the facts and the respect to make a decision based on those facts.
That said, if you would like a counter-presentation to the City's forgone conclusion based on demands from the Suns owners and dreams of a revitalized downtown (or re-election and a monument to ones self), please write to mayor and council and tell them that you want to hear both sides. They can be emailed at: