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Fredericksburg City Beat

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 pgould@freelancestar.com. Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or rsidersky@freelancestar.com.

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Fredericksburg treasurer delaying decision on baseball project extension request

Hagerstown_Suns_Cap_LogoFredericksburg Treasurer Brenda Wood just informed me that she is delaying a decision on whether to grant another extension to the partners seeking to buy the U.S. National Slavery Museum site.

Owners of the minor league Hagerstown Suns and New Jersey-based Diamond Nation are working to finalize a deal to buy the land, which is located in the Celebrate Virginia South development.

The partners plan to build a 5,000-seat stadium and a complex with fields for amateur baseball and softball where Diamond Nation would operate tournaments and clinics through most of the year.

The partners have a Monday deadline to complete the deal to buy the land. On Tuesday, they asked for an extension.

However, that same day, City Manager Bev Cameron announced that the project could be in jeopardy because of higher-than-expected construction costs.

As I reported after Tuesday’s meeting and today, the partners are now asking the city for help in addressing a construction estimate $18 million more than anticipated.

The museum site is responsible for the bulk of the cost over-run because of its hilly topography.

The city had been moving toward a delinquent tax sale on the 38-acre parcel to recover unpaid real estate taxes, interest and penalties. But in October, the treasurer’s office put that sale on hold for 150 days to allow time for the parties to finalize the deal.

Wood then granted extensions in March and June.

Today, Wood said she would wait until the City Council meets in a work session on the project on Aug. 26 before deciding whether an extension is appropriate. She said she will attend the work session.

Below is a statement Wood sent to the baseball partners this morning.

“I believe that a decision on granting another postponement of the sale of the National Slavery Museum property may be premature at this point in light of the outcome of the August 12 city council meeting.  As I am sure you are aware, council plans to meet later this month on the 26th in a work session to specifically discuss and decide if the city is willing to invest additional money to help close the large gap in construction costs.  I will attend the work session to listen to all sides of the argument.  After that I will be better informed to make a decision on how to best protect the interests of the city as well as move this project forward.”

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/citybeat/2014/08/14/fredericksburg-treasurer-delaying-decision-on-baseball-project-extension-request/