Prince William County officials have offered to make major improvements to a new baseball stadium being built near Manassas in an effort to lure the Dukes baseball team out of Alexandria.
At a meeting Tuesday night with Dukes owner A. Eugene Thomas and the team's other financial backers, county park and economic development officials said the improvements could be made as part of what had been planned as an $800,000 athletic park being built beside a new county administration complex.
Thomas, who could not be reached for comment, has promised to give the county an answer by Monday. After the Alexandria City Council last week voted against building a new $1 million stadium for the Dukes, Thomas announced he was talking with officials in Prince William, Fairfax and Prince George's counties about moving the team.
"We're very enthusiastic, and the Dukes seem interested," Prince William Park Authority executive director James Spengler said yesterday. "We are still negotiating over financial arrangements, but we'll know by Monday for sure."
Spengler said the county is offering to upgrade the planned baseball diamond, lighting, locker rooms and the grandstand at the new county park.
The Dukes last year drew an average of 1,100 spectators a game at Alexandria's Four Mile Run stadium and have been blaming the stadium, their inability to sell beer there and lack of city support for the low attendance and the team's financial troubles.
"They also could sell beer here," Spengler said. "The Dukes will make the decision," he said. "But we've got a county that's crazy about baseball . . . more than 7,000 registered players in summer leagues . . . , and we'd love to have them."