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Old 02-15-2012, 10:45 AM
HeadFirst HeadFirst is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Leesburg, VA
Posts: 74
Default Vote Delayed

Last night the City Counsil of Winchester held a hearing on the topic of the proposed $15M ballpark. A vote might have been held, but was not.

I wasn't there but a colleague was, and he reports ~30 people spoke at the hearing and all but one were "extremely/adamantly against" (his words).

Among the points raised were: 1) how can per-game attendance of 3,500 be justified when Winchester Royals collegiate wood-bat team draws 500 per-game? 2) how come the city pays for everything and the team keeps all revenues (including naming rights and non-baseball)? 3) why put a pro ballpark on a public park (Jim Barnett Park), doing away with public-use fields?

Just in case people aren't aware -- and sadly, even people in Winchester are not aware, quick and quiet as these developments have been -- the City of Winchester is offering to attract the Hagerstown Suns with a fully publicly financed $15M 5,000-seat facility off I-81 and letting the team keep virtually all revenues from the park.

It could very well be the most lopsided, anti-taxpayer stadium deal in a very long while, more so even than Gwinnett -- and Winchester is not nearly as affluent as Gwinnett.

Winchester City Counsil's next hearing on this topic is March 13. Hopefully much will have changed about this deal by then -- or Hagerstown will step up and make needed investments to keep the Suns there, as probably most people outside of Winchester would like to see.
"Let's play hardball. I'm goin' headfirst."
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