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Build the stadium they can afford

Date published: 8/27/2014

Sean McCollum's letter regarding the latest stadium proposal is right on the mark ["Baseball cost overruns not city's problem, Aug. 24].

What did City Council miss last July? A number of residents addressed a packed house at a public hearing expressing their feelings and concerns about this project. They were not against baseball, but they were adamantly opposed to taxpayer money being spent to fund a private baseball diamond.

What a sweet deal for the Suns and Diamond Nation. This proposal has all the earmarks of a good, old-fashioned bait-and-switch scheme.

If the figures in the paper are correct, the Suns will now be getting an $8 million parking complex and 97 percent of the gross revenues from the entire complex for the first decade.

And my favorite part--they want to be exempt from real estate taxes for the life of the project.

We will be getting $26 million in debt, a "possible" $2 million annually in additional revenue, along with a yet-to-be-determined percentage loss on meals and lodging taxes, and the traffic gridlock that a 4,750-seat stadium will bring.

If we actually do gain $2 million a year in annual additional revenues, it will take us 13 years to break even on $26 million of debt.

In 13 years, this stadium will be out of date. Will we then find ourselves in the same shoes as the city of Hagerstown, with the option of building yet another stadium to keep the Suns around? Is the package still structured so that the amount the partners receive is directly tied to the success of their business?

Last year we told the Suns and Diamond Nation what we were willing to do to help them build a ballpark. Now they are back looking for more money.

They either need to build the stadium they can afford or go back to Hagerstown.

Jackie D. Emery