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Spotsylvania EDA hears from PlayBall VA! about its proposal

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

The Spotsylvania Economic Development Authority had no discussion Thursday evening following a pitch from Play Ball VA for a $26 million, 6,500-seat baseball stadium.

Play Ball principal Bob Hagan told the group that Spotsylvania could, by the spring of 2016, have a self-financed ballpark with successful owners off Interstate 95.

“We’ll take the presentation and go from there,” said EDA chairman Gerald Childress before the meeting continued.

Hagan, who has pushed to bring baseball to the region, is now critical of a plan bringing the Hagerstown Suns to Fredericksburg. Instead, Hagan and fellow Play Ball principal Irv McGowan have an agreement in place to buy 40 acres of non-residential land between U.S. 1 and Interstate 95 south of the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center.

“This is an ideal location,” Hagan said, citing plans for a new I–95 interchange. But a Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman said Thursday there is no construction funding or schedule for the project, and a design must receive several approvals.

Hagan said he wants to work with a team that’s proven successful and would continue to do so locally.

“We are planning to make modifications at Exit 126/Spotsylvania to reduce congestion. However there is no construction funding or schedule for an interchange project at the Interstate 95 interchange,” VDOT spokeswoman Kelly Hannon said in an email.

A working group had narrowed down 14 alternatives to one preferred design, but that must still receive several layers of approvals.

Play Ball VA! anticipates the 6,500-seat stadium to cost about $26 million to build, not including land costs.

The team could be either independent from the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs, where players can more easily move between teams, or affiliated, where they’re contracted with one team and its different levels.

Hagan said he has talked with teams about relocating to Spotsylvania, which is outside the territory controlled by the Suns’ affiliated Major League team, the Washington Nationals. Spotsylvania is in the territory of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, however, and that team would need to give permission to any affiliated team looking to move to the county. An independent professional team would not need that permission.

He would not name those teams and said Play Ball VA! has not asked the Flying Squirrels for permission for a Spotsylvania team.

—Katie Thisdell