This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or email@example.com.
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Baseball project will be approved
UPDATE: Fred Howe made the motion to approve the proposal and Brad Ellis seconded it. The deal has at least five votes at this point, including Matt Kelly, the original proponent of the team’s relocation to Fredericksburg.
UPDATE: Council members Kerry Devine and George Solley just said they support the deal.
UPDATE: City Manager Bev Cameron called this a “unique public-private partnership.”
Councilman Matt Kelly says this project meets the tourism goal set for the Celebrate Virginia area.
UPDATE: Council just started taking up the baseball stadium proposal, moving it ahead of other issues on the agenda.
Baseball project leaders are in attendance at tonight’s City Council meeting. They are, from left, Diamond Nation President Keith Dilgard, Diamond Nation founder Jack Cust, Rosner Auto Group owner Ron Rosner, and Bruce Quinn, majority owner of the Hagerstown Suns.
Six speakers at this evening’s meeting have spoken in support of the proposal. No one has spoken against the project.
UPDATE: It looks like council will vote unanimously tonight in support of the stadium proposal.
Fredericksburg City Council ended its work session on the proposed stadium deal for Celebrate Virginia South after an hour of reviewing issues such as alternative uses for a city built parking area and incentives being offered to the group that is now taking on the bulk of financing.
City Manager Bev Cameron told council he estimated the project could result in $2 million annually in sales, meals and lodging taxes outside of the project. That estimate is based on a projection of 400,000 new visitors per year, half of what representatives for the Hagerstown Suns and Diamond Nation predict.
Local businessman Ron Rosner on Monday announced that he is investing in the project and is purchasing stadium naming rights. He arrived at the work session as the meeting was breaking up.
He was greeted warmly by Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw and Councilwoman Kerry Devine.
Two residents and the consultant for the baseball project were the only other members of the public to attend the work session.
The council is currently in a dinner break before beginning the regular council meeting at 7:30 p.m. It is expected to vote on the proposal toward the end of that meeting.
All indications are that the proposal will receive the support needed to go forward. However, it next must go through several steps of the government process, which will involve an estimated 12 public hearings, according to Cameron.
The privately owned complex would include a multi-purpose stadium for the Suns with 4,750 fixed seats and five artificial turf fields where Diamond Nation would host amateur softball and baseball camps and tournaments. Diamond Nation runs a similar facility in New Jersey and has an existing business relationship with Suns majority owner Bruce Quinn.
Diamond Nation and the Suns, a Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, have estimated that about 837,000 people would visit the complex annually. They have estimated their economic impact on Fredericksburg—including direct and indirect spending—at about $83 million annually and have predicted that the complex would result in about 28,000 hotel-room nights per year, mostly for people in town for Diamond Nation camps and tournaments. They also believe the complex could help jump-start the Celebrate Virginia development.
The Suns and Diamond Nation would be responsible for about $29 million of the estimated upfront costs for the stadium and fields, and the city would issue about $7 million in bonds to pay for an 1,800-space parking lot.