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Chamber Favors Bills to Obtain State Funds for Stadium

Sunday, March 27, 2005; Page SM05

The Charles County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee is backing legislation in the Maryland General Assembly to secure as much as $500,000 in state funding for the proposed minor league baseball stadium in St. Charles, on the southern edge of Waldorf.

Bills introduced jointly in the House of Delegates and state Senate would extend the funds to the county in the form of a state grant to pay for initial planning and design work for the ballpark, which would cost about $18.4 million to build.

Proposed legislation in the General Assembly would secure as much as $500,000 for the minor league baseball stadium planned for this site in St. Charles. (Mark Gail -- The Washington Post)

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Charles County Dels. Sally Y. Jameson (D), Murray D. Levy (D) and W. Daniel Mayer (R) are sponsoring the bill in the House. State Sen. Thomas M. Middleton (D) is the sponsor in his chamber.

This month the Charles County commissioners voted unanimously to build a 4,500-seat minor league baseball stadium on a 72-acre site along Piney Church Road in St. Charles.

Under the proposal, the cost of building the stadium would be shared equally by the county, the state and Maryland Baseball LLC, the private developer of the project. It was originally proposed for a site near Hughesville, but that location was dropped after intense opposition from residents in the area.

The county, which would own the stadium, plans to issue 15-year taxable bonds to pay for its portion of the stadium's cost. Officials expect the annual debt service to be $600,000, about half of which would be made up by revenue generated by the stadium.

In addition to the stadium bill, the Chamber of Commerce legislative panel voted to support bills that would:

• Repeal the $100 million limitation on the amount the county can borrow for school construction.

• Allow businesses to claim a tax credit for expenses that stem from installing security devices.

• Repeal some taxes on health maintenance organizations.

• Prohibit smoking regulations.

• Require residential landlords to conduct tougher property inspections.

The positions taken by the panel on the proposed legislation do not necessarily reflect the views of all chamber members. The committee meets weekly during the General Assembly session to review legislation, and it publishes a weekly newsletter that is mailed to all chamber members.


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