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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and Fredericksburg.com. This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.
Hagerstown Suns, city officials to meet Tuesday
COMPLETE COVERAGE: View all related stories and images on the Fredericksburg baseball proposal
Representatives from the Hagerstown Suns minor league baseball team and the city of Fredericksburg will meet Tuesday to discuss the framework of a new deal that could bring the Washington Nationals’ Class A affiliate to the city.
Suns majority owner Bruce Quinn said he and two team officials will travel to Fredericksburg on Tuesday to meet with a negotiating committee consisting of City Councilman Brad Ellis and Fred Howe, and City Manager Bev Cameron.
Both the team and the city have been working on alternative financing plans for the proposed multi-purpose stadium since a July 9 public hearing. There was support expressed for a local minor league team at that meeting, but many speakers didn’t like the idea of a publicly financed, $30 million stadium paid for in large part through a new real estate tax on Central Park and Celebrate Virginia South.
Though few details of the new financing proposals for a stadium at Celebrate Virginia South have been made public, Quinn said the plans differ markedly from the one originally discussed.
Howe has said the city is working on a plan for a mostly privately financed stadium that the city could support with the economic development tools it has at its disposal. Past economic development deals have involved the city returning a portion of the new tax revenues generated by a project.
Quinn said in an email that the new deal that is being worked on involves a “large contingency of local Fredericksburg businessmen, contractors and finance experts” and includes “possible future owners and sponsors in the team.”
He said it would be a different approach that wouldn’t require the city to issue general obligation or revenue bonds.
“This solution is a true public/private partnership including financing,” Quinn wrote in the email.
Quinn said the Suns plan “to listen and take notes” at the Tuesday meeting “to formulate a mutually acceptable project so everyone wins.”
The matter is expected to come back before Fredericksburg City Council on Aug. 13.