Maryland General Assembly Approves Funding for Hagerstown Multi- Use Sports & Events Facility
The Maryland General Assembly has passed Senate Bill 0926 (SB 926); Economic Development – Maryland Stadium Authority – Hagerstown Multi-Use Sports & Events Facility. Subsequently, the bill has now been sent to the desk of Governor Hogan for this signature. This marks a major milestone in the effort to finance and construct a new Multi-Use Sports and Event Facility within the City of Hagerstown. The facility will serve as an anchor in the ongoing effort of Hagerstown’s revitalization and is slated to become the future home to a team within the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB).
Sponsored by Senator Paul D. Corderman and Senator George C. Edwards, SB 926 authorizes the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) to issue up to $59.5 million in bonds to finance the acquisition, design, construction, and related expenses to construct the Multi-Use Sports & Events facility. In addition, Governor Hogan has put $8.5 million dollars in the most recent supplemental budget towards this effort and the General Assembly has earmarked an additional $1.5 million in the recently passed Capital Budget towards this project as well.
Once the Maryland Stadium Authority has completed the design & subsequent construction process, the Facility will be owned and operated by the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation (CHIEF). In addition to serving as the home of a new professional baseball team in the Atlantic League, the facility will host other sports, entertainment, and community events, making it a true year-round gathering place for Hagerstown and Washington County.
“The passage of this bill represents a generational opportunity to transform the trajectory of our community for future generations in a way we have never seen before,” said Senator Corderman. “I appreciate the support of Governor Hogan, Senate President Ferguson, House Speaker Jones, Chair Guy Guzzone of the Budget & Tax Committee, Chair Maggie McIntosh of the Appropriations Committee, and my fellow colleagues in the General Assembly in supporting and delivering this tremendous economic development opportunity for our community.”
SB 926 initially passed unanimously out of the Senate of Maryland on March 19th, 2021 by a vote of 44-0. The bill then passed the Maryland House of Delegates on its third reading by an overwhelming margin of 131-5 on Friday, April 9. It was cleared for final passage by the Maryland Senate by a 46-0 vote on Monday, April 12. The bill will now go to the desk of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan for his signature. SB 926 would represent the State of Maryland’s largest investment to date towards the City of Hagerstown’s revitalization efforts. The bill also represent the largest post pandemic economic recovery infrastructure project in Western Maryland.
The passage of SB 926 is the latest milestone in the effort to construct a new sports and entertainment facility within the City of Hagerstown. In February, it was announced that the ALPB had granted conditional approval for a new member team in Hagerstown, with club ownership to be led by local businessman Howard “Blackie” Bowen.  Mr. Bowen, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Ewing Oil Company, has been working with elected officials and civic leaders to help plan the design, construction and funding of a new multi-purpose sports facility.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to bring a locally-owned, Atlantic League expansion team to Hagerstown,” said Mr. Bowen. “In addition to being a home for this elite professional baseball league, we look forward to using the Hagerstown Multi-Use Sports & Events Facility to host hundreds of other family friendly events each year. The facility will serve as a community gathering place for decades to come, while acting as a catalyst for new investment in the area. I want to thank Senator Corderman for his heroic work in getting this historic legislation passed so this project can be funded without using any local taxpayer money.”
The facility’s addition within the City of Hagerstown will complement the efforts of the recently completed Urban Improvement project which included the renovation of the historic Maryland Theatre, and the expansion of both the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts (BISFA) and the University System of Maryland – Hagerstown (USMH), as well as significant private investment in and around these entities. The Facility will also serve as the anchor to the ongoing efforts for a second Urban Improvement Project within the City of Hagerstown. The City of Hagerstown is located within both an Enterprise Zone and an Opportunity Zone. As such, the project will be in a highly incentivized area for new development in an area of great need.