The city's revised incentive package

City Pledges Additional $2M, Accepts Diamond Nation Offer

by | Dec 13, 2014 | Government, Sports

By Susan Larson

Plans for a minor league baseball stadium and amateur sports complex in Fredericksburg were revived Tuesday, when City Council unanimously voted to accept Diamond Nation’s most recent offer.

“We’re essentially back to where we were a year ago,” Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw said.

City Manager Bev Cameron announced the offer before the meeting in an email to the press.  He outlined the offer in three points:

“City conditionally agrees to provide an additional $2M for the parking facility ($10M total).
“Diamond Nation agrees to obtain all project financing without City assistance and has 12 months to do so.
“City’s conditional approval subject to formal public review process and EDA concurrence.”

In August 2014, Diamond Nation had asked the city to increase its support of the project by providing a permanent real estate tax exemption in exchange for a revenue share “in perpetuity,” and the city’s investment of up to $26 million — an increase of about $18 million.

That did not go over well with some council members and members of the public, as voiced at the August 26 City Council meeting.

Diamond Nation came back late Tuesday with an offer to finance “the full cost of the project.”   The city will add an additional $2 million, paying $10 million for a parking facility.  A year ago the city had promised $8 million.

The city will also honor the incentive agreement approved September 2013, which provides economic development incentives with an estimated annual value of about $1.14 million annually for 20 years.

Councilman Matt Kelly said he is submitting applications to the Virginia Department of Transportation for funds that could assist the city with parking facility expenses.  Some watching the Council Meeting voiced concern there would be a positive outcome to the request, in light the state’s $882 million budget shortfall.  Governor Terry McAuliffe and the House of Delegates announced September 15 cuts of $192 million to state agencies, $90 million for higher education and $60 million for aide to local governments over the next two years, the Washington Post reported.

The land on which the project is to be built is currently scheduled for a tax sale on October 1.  The National Slavery Museum, which once planned to build on the 38 acres in Celebrate Virginia South, owes the city about $540,000 in fees and back taxes on the land.  The land was not discussed in the newest proposal or at Tuesday night’s meeting.

For more on this story, see:

Councilman Kelly to Recommend City Continue Baseball Negotiations

City Council Votes to Continue Baseball Stadium Negotiations

Photos: City Council Hears from Diamond Nation, Citizens

City Considers Real Estate Tax Exemption for Diamond Nation Stadium Complex

Do Not Jeopardize Fredericksburg’s Future Financial Capabilities. Say No to Baseball. (op-ed)

Diamond Nation Asks City for $18 Million More Towards Stadium

Suns Staying Longer in Hagerstown

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