The new facility will open in 2024.
The lure of having a sports franchise in an area often proves to be too great for local politicians who see having a team or teams in their area as an economic asset. There is no clear evidence that spending taxpayers’ dollars for a sports facility brings higher wages and a higher standard of living for those who are employed by sports teams or businesses that are within walking range of a venue. Most jobs created by a stadium and or an arena are per diem or minimum wage jobs, especially if the venue is constructed for a minor league or an independent league baseball team. But you can add the officials of the city of Hagerstown, Maryland who believe that building a stadium will revitalize the city’s downtown area. In 2021, the Maryland General Assembly approved funding for a $70 million stadium seating 5,000 people, for an independent Atlantic League team. The stadium will open sometime in 2024. The building will have other sporting events and some cultural events.
Hagerstown is a poor city. It has a population of 43,527 according to the 2020 census. Hagerstown is Maryland’s sixth-largest incorporated city and is the largest city in the Maryland Panhandle. Hagerstown had a minor league baseball team between 1993 and 2019. The Hagerstown Suns franchise in 2019 drew less than 60,000 people for 70 games which is about 857 people per game. In 2020, the team lost its affiliation with MLB’s Washington Nationals franchise and was one of 42 franchises that Major League Baseball discarded. Hagerstown leaders want a vibrant downtown and think stadium activities will attract other businesses and people to the area. But there are numerous examples of that not happening. Hagerstown and Maryland officials are hoping that won’t be the case.
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