Bowie minor-league stadium would need help of taxpayers


Taxpayers would contribute more than $7 million of the $9 million estimated cost if a minor-league baseball stadium planned for Bowie is built, according to initial funding plans.

Details are still being worked out, but oral agreements reached in meetings during the past week with officials of the state, Bowie, Prince George's County and the Maryland Baseball Limited Partnership call for $4.5 million from the state, $3 million from the city and $1.5 million from the private developers.

The city of Bowie probably would own the stadium and lease it to the Maryland Baseball Partnership, which would be responsible for its maintenance, said Peter Kirk, chairman of the partnership. The private contribution hopes to be underwritten by sky-box sales, he said.

The partnership, which also owns the Double-A Hagerstown Suns and Single-A Frederick Keys, wants to move the Suns to the new stadium for a few years until a Triple-A farm team can be acquired, possibly the Orioles farm team now playing in Rochester, N.Y.

The stadium would be available for various events, such as concerts and youth league games, he said.

Bowie has pledged $3 million if the land is annexed to the city. The property includes a housing and office development that would generate sufficient property tax revenues to pay off the investment over time, said Charles Moore, Bowie city manager.

State officials view the development as an opportunity to bring ,, minor-league baseball to a large population center, said Carol Fox, spokeswoman for the Department of Economic and Employment Development. "It's going to be an important recreational and economic plus for the area," Fox said.

The stadium could create hundreds of mostly part-time jobs and probably draw fans from a five-county region, said Parris N. Glendening, Prince George's County Executive. "It will be a real asset," he said.

He said the parties to the agreement are trying to get enough details ironed out to be able to draw up contracts by Aug. 1. The facility is planned for the southeast corner of the intersection of routes 301 and 50.

Maryland Baseball Partnership also reached an agreement this week to help build a stadium in Wilmington, Del. The agreement requires the partnership to move the Suns or Keys to Wilmington if the group cannot find another team to play there.

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