A new Ripken Design study, analyzing alternative sites for a multiuse stadium, was in the hands of the Hagerstown City Council and mayor at Tuesday’s council meeting, and on the city’s website.
The supplemental study examines the pros and cons of the downtown site the city council and former mayor Robert E. Bruchey II promoted last year, as well as the former Washington County Hospital site and two concepts in the area of the existing Municipal Stadium.
“I’m willing to support either of those sites if it keeps a baseball team in Washington County,” Munson said.
The study will be discussed Tuesday at a council workshop, Mayor David S. Gysberts said.
“At a projected cost of $30 million, the facility represents a substantial influx of spending into the local economy,” the report said. About $21 million of that cost will be spent locally, the report said.
The 6.8-acre downtown site would have the benefits of a proposed new parking deck, aiding downtown redevelopment efforts and is walkable to downtown “points of interest,” the report said. On the downside, there would be limited on-site parking, objections from nearby residents and landowners, and increased downtown traffic.
The hospital site is the smallest at 6.5 acres and, being on top of a hill and hospital rubble, it presents challenges that could add to its cost, the report said. It also does not have room for on-site parking, the report said.
However, it could create a “destination environment in the spirit of Wrigleyville or Yawkey Way,” referring to the commercial areas around Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Boston’s Fenway Park, respectively, the report said. Off-site parking is accessible and it could spur development in that part of town, it said.
Concept A for the area of Municipal Stadium expands its footprint across Town Run, and increases acreage from the current 9.9 acres to 15.3 acres, the report said. Concept B creates a 19.4-acre site, extends into Hager Park and uses the present stadium site for parking, the report said.
Concept A’s pros include the surrounding area being accustomed to frequent events, a history of baseball in that area and enhanced visitor amenities such as on-site deck parking, the report said.
The cons include having the Suns play elsewhere during construction and possible cost escalation associated with building over Town Run, the report said. Building there might not do much to raise the values of surrounding properties, the report said.
Concept B avoids building over Town Run and the Suns would not be displaced, the report said. The plan might also generate citizen objections to taking part of Hager Park, and requires purchasing several properties, it said.
The topographical and rubble issues at the hospital site concerned Councilman Kristin Aleshire, and he said he would not use public money to buy the downtown site because an environmental study showed levels of certain contaminants well above Maryland Department of the Environment standards.
Dealing with Town Run near the Municipal Stadium site was another concern, Aleshire said.
“At the end of the day, for me, the pivotal issue is cost,” Aleshire said. The city has to present citizens with an estimate of the project’s price tag, detailing local, county, state and private contributions, that does not escalate over time, he said.
Council members Penny Nigh, Martin Brubaker and Lewis C. Metzner declined to comment on the study until next Tuesday’s meeting.
The plan can be accessed at www.hagerstownmd.org.