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Potomac Nationals announce plans for new ballpark in Fredericksburg

The Potomac Nationals plan to move to Fredericksburg in 2020. (courtesy of Potomac Nationals)

Nearly a year after talks between the Potomac Nationals and Prince William County over a new stadium fell apart, the Washington Nationals’ Class A Advanced affiliate announced Tuesday that it plans to move from Woodbridge to a new ballpark in Fredericksburg in 2020.

The city of Fredericksburg announced that its city council will vote July 10 on whether to move forward with the plans detailed in a nonbinding letter of intent. If it passes, “a 120-day study period” would begin between club and city. If an agreement is reached, it would be a 30-year commitment, with the team financing the 5,000-seat multipurpose stadium without any money or bonds borrowed from the city. The ballpark would cost approximately $35 million, according to a news release.

Pfitzner Stadium, the club’s home since 1984, was deemed not up to standards by Minor League Baseball, which originally notified owner Art Silber that he had to move the team by the 2019 season. According to the team’s news release Tuesday, the waiver has been extended through the 2020 season, though the plan is to have the new stadium ready by then.

Last year, Silber and Washington-based developer JBG Companies signed a nonbinding letter of intent with Prince William County to proceed with a $35 million stadium and an adjacent parking garage on JBG property. But dissenters surfaced when Prince William’s board of supervisors considered a plan that would’ve used bond money to construct the stadium, with the team reimbursing the county the entire cost over the course of a 30-year lease. Those opposing believed the deal needed more guarantees in case the team wasn’t able to pay off the county for the proposed 6,000-seat stadium. Negotiations eventually collapsed last July.

Silber said he would have to sell the team and relocate it out of the area if a deal with Prince William County wasn’t struck, but he would keep the team in Northern Virginia. The new stadium — described by the team as “a state-of-the-art ballpark in Celebrate Virginia just off Interstate 95″ — will be about 30 miles from its current venue.

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