The Charles County Board of Commissioners and representatives from Maryland Baseball, LLC are expected to announce an agreement on Tuesday to begin the design of a stadium that could bring a minor league baseball team to Hughesville.

After six months of negotiating, state and county governments and Maryland Baseball will split the estimated $15 million cost for the stadium, according to Peter Kirk, Chairman of Maryland Baseball.

A goal of opening the stadium in spring 2006 "would be the best-case scenario," Kirk said, adding a 2007 opening is "more realistic."

The state's funding for the project, however, has not been finalized nor have county officials requested it. A source involved with the discussions, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the talks, expects that request to happen during the next meeting of the Maryland General Assembly in the fall.

"The key to that project will be state participation," Kirk said. "The economics of this don't work unless you have a partnership with local government, state government and the team."

Sources said construction will not begin until the state's funding is received.

The proposed site of the stadium will be on the west side of Route 5, just north of its intersection with the planned Hughesville Bypass, the $38.7 million project to ease traffic congestion announced in February by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Maryland Baseball is part of parent company Sports Management Services, which has built ballparks and operated minor league teams in Bowie, Frederick, Salisbury and Aberdeen.

-- Alan Goldenbach

and Joshua Partlow