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LIVE from City Hall: Baseball stadium public hearing
COMPLETE COVERAGE: View all related stories and images.
UPDATE: 12:28 p.m. The City Council voted 5-1 to continue negotiating. Councilman George Solley voted against the motion. Councilwoman Kerry Devine was not present to vote. Look for more details to come.
UPDATE 11:59 p.m. The public hearing part has ended and the council is discussing the proposed stadium now.
UPDATE 11:15 p.m. The 28th speaker is now at the podium. Chambers have cleared out a bit, but there are several people left to listen to the hearing. The council suspended its rules – normally they cannot go past 11 p.m. It’s unclear how many speakers are left for tonight. The council has not weighed in yet tonight.
UPDATE 10:24 p.m. We’re a little more than an hour into the baseball public hearing and we’re on the 12th public speaker. So far, the reaction has been mixed, but all the city residents who have spoken are opposed to the deal that has been put out.
UPDATE 8:56 p.m. The City Council is in its final public hearing before the one about baseball.
UPDATE 8:15 p.m.: The City Council is still in the other public hearings. In the meantime, check out these videos of area residents on both sides of the proposed stadium deal.
Anne Little speaks out against the stadium:
The Funland general manager speaks out against the stadium:
Here’s one family that’s in favor of the stadium:
UPDATE: The rally outside that began around 6 p.m. and drew about 100 people or so, most in some kind of baseball gear. At the same time, there was a small counter rally of people opposed to the stadium.
The rally in favor of the stadium was organized by a pro-baseball group that formed, who call themselves “Baseball in the Burg” and Tom Byrnes, the managing member of Rappahannock Baseball Initiative.
Darien Boutchyard, of Spotsylvania, and his two sons were there. Boutchyard said he thinks the stadium will be good for the city.
David Robinson, 65, was also there, with a sign that read “Baseball in the Burg” in support of the stadium. He said that the stadium would be good for area families and it would be a healthy thing for the kids of the area.
Tony Tallarico, the general manager of Funland in Central Park, was with the group against the stadium deal. He said that as a competing business, it won’t benefit him.
City resident Anne Little was also in the group against the stadium deal. One of her signs read “Nostalgia: yes. This time in Fred NO!”
Of the people polled, most said they were unsure of whether they would address council during the public hearing.
UPDATE: Legal occupancy for Council Chambers is 136 people. The room is filling up as time for the first public hearing approaches. The city has set up two second-floor conference rooms for any people who can’t fit into the meeting room.
UPDATE: Council is going into recess now – 6 p.m. – and will resume at 7 p.m. to start the public hearings. The council just finished with its regular business and has nothing else to address until the five public hearings.
UPDATE: The Fredericksburg City Council voted 5-1 to appoint Fred Howe and Brad Ellis to serve with City Manager Bev Cameron as a negotiating team regarding a stadium lease if the project moves forward.
Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw voted against the motion. Council member Kerry Devine is absent.
The Hagerstown Suns have proposed the city build a $29.5 million stadium that would be home to the minor league team and serve as a venue for other events throughout the year.
The Suns’ goal is to begin play at the start of the 2015 season.
Reporter Pamela Gould and I will be bringing you tonight’s live coverage of both the rally outside City Hall that begins at 6 p.m. and the City Council meeting, where the public hearing for the proposed publicly funded multipurpose stadium in Fredericksburg will begin sometime after 7 p.m.
Here’s a timeline for you:
5:30 p.m. – The Council begins its regular meeting in Council Chambers of City Hall
6 p.m. - Baseball supporters are planning a rally outside City Hall starting at an hour before public hearings are scheduled to start before the council. The rally will include appearances by Suns majority owner Bruce Quinn, as well as minority owner Jeff Nelson, Quinn’s brother-in-law and a former Major League Baseball pitcher. Former major-leaguer Andrés “The Big Cat” Galarraga, a friend of Quinn’s, will also be at the rally, according to the recently launched website baseballintheburg.com.
7 p.m. – The first of five public hearings is expected to begin. The one about baseball will be last.
Throughout the evening, we’ll keep you posted with tweets, blog updates and photos about what’s going on.