A group seeking public input into the decision to build a new downtown ballpark for the Hagerstown Suns (Low Class A; Sally League) presented 910 signatures to the city council last night.
The group opposes a new downtown ballpark for two reasons: taking on new debt during lean times makes little financial sense, and it would cost less to fix up Municipal Stadium, the team's current home.
Technically, this isn't a petition drive, but rather organizers presented 910 signatures attached to "letters of concern" about the $30-million new-ballpark plan. They say that it would cost less than half to fix up Municipal Stadium, the historic facility where Willie Mays once patrolled the outfield. It's a valid concern: with old ballparks being torn down regularly, it would be a shame to lose another, even if it may be financially obsolete. And while it sounds like there's no provisions for a petition drive to stop the project. the power of opponents could be felt at the ballot box in a future election.
The city council, meanwhile, called these concerns premature: at least two more votes are required before bonds are issued, and there's no lease yet with the Suns.
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