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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Hagerstown Suns, city to meet Tuesday

COMPLETE COVERAGE: View all related stories and images on the Fredericksburg baseball proposal

Representatives of the Hagerstown Suns and the city of Fredericksburg will meet Tuesday to discuss a potential deal to bring the Washington Nationals Class A affiliate to Fredericksburg.

The team and the city have been working on alternative financing plans for a proposed multi-purpose stadium at Celebrate Virginia South since a July 9 public hearing. Speakers at that hearing voiced support for minor league baseball but largely opposed a publicly financed facility paid for in large part through a new real estate tax on Central Park and Celebrate Virginia South.

The two sides will meet Tuesday, and the full Fredericksburg City Council could take up a new proposal at its Aug. 13 meeting.

Tuesday’s meeting, which has been scheduled since this past Thursday, almost got called off at the last minute.

The city notified local media Monday afternoon that the previously announced meeting Tuesday evening in City Hall would be cancelled and rescheduled but gave no reason.

Councilman Fred Howe, who was appointed along with Vice Mayor Brad Ellis to a negotiating team to broker a new deal, later sent an email saying the cancellation was due to concerns raised by City Attorney Kathleen Dooley that a closed meeting with the team could violate the Freedom of Information Act.

Suns majority owner Bruce Quinn and other parties working with Quinn had already made plans to travel to Fredericksburg on Tuesday, according to Howe’s email. They will still meet with the city manager privately Tuesday to discuss the possible stadium deal.

Howe said he will also attend Tuesday’s meeting, which he referred to as an “informal conversation only.” It’s unclear if any other member of City Council will attend Tuesday’s meeting, whose time and location have not been publicly disclosed.

Howe said a meeting involving a more formal negotiation could follow after the FOIA question that Dooley raised is sorted out.

Howe wrote in his email that ”the City Attorney’s FOIA opinion timing is very unfortunate” but added that “we need to get all the parties to the table legally as quickly as possible especially with an August 13th committee reporting deadline.”