Fredericksburg, Va. Is Paying To Use A Privately Funded Stadium

Private business gets tax money through the back door.

The Minor League Baseball season is done and operators are looking ahead to the 2020 season and what events they could stage to draw people into the park. In Fredericksburg, Virginia, there could be a minor league team playing ball beginning in April. If a 6,500-seat stadium that is presently being built is finished by that time. In July 2018, the Silber family got a deal done with the Fredericksburg city council to move their Potomac Nationals Class A baseball franchise to the city. The Silbers kept the franchise in Prince William County in 2019 with the understanding that the team would make the 37-mile move to Fredericksburg in 2020. The Silber family will spend $35 million to build the stadium but Fredericksburg will send a little more than a million a year back over a 30-year period to the Silbers so the city can get to use the building 183 days a year. It is an unusual deal. The city is subsidizing a privately built stadium instead of just saying that the city would fund the building. City elected officials think Fredericksburg will get the money back from sales and property tax revenue. City officials also think the team could draw as many as 4,100 customers per game. There could be 12 concerts a year at the park.

Art Silber had been looking for public money from Prince William County for about two decades for his baseball team. He was rebuffed and decided to look elsewhere in Virginia not far from Washington, DC. He went to Fairfax, Falls Church, Alexandria and Loundon County for a handout and he got nowhere. Eventualy he got the Fredricksburg deal which means the Silber family is putting up just five million dollars in a stadium that will be costing $35 million. The world of minor league baseball has changed.