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Posted March 12, 2012 | comments 8 Comments

Resident starts baseball stadium petition

By Candace Sipos

WINCHESTER -- Diane Sinclair said the response to her latest city initiative -- helping people voice their concerns about the proposed minor league baseball stadium -- has been overwhelming.

Sinclair, who served on the city school board and has been involved in various local nonprofit organizations, has lived in Winchester for 38 years. After attending a South End Citizens' Association meeting and hearing a presentation from Jim Deskins, director of economic redevelopment, Sinclair decided to start a petition against the stadium.

"This has taken on a life of its own," Sinclair said this past week from her home at 508 Princess Court in the city.

She had received roughly 20 calls already that morning from people who wanted a copy of the petition. The batch of 25 petitions she left in the box on her front porch Thursday morning were gone when she returned a few hours later. She already has over 120 signatures.

She has e-mailed about 100 of the sheets, which contain 20 lines for signatures each, but many of those people have sent the petition along, she said.

"One person called and said his wife went out with two petitions and everybody she asked wanted to sign it," she said.

Sinclair has asked for all of the petitions to be returned to her today at the latest so that she can present the final product to city council during its Tuesday meeting.

City Council will be holding a public hearing followed by a vote on whether to convey almost 8 acres of land in Jim Barnett Park from the city to the Economic Development Authority to build the stadium.

Sinclair said she doesn't believe the area is the right place for the stadium, mainly because of parking and traffic congestion concerns.

"If I lived over in that area I would be very concerned," she said. "... Our park is not set up to accommodate the number of people they say will come."

She also said that she's concerned about whether the city will realize the financial impact that officials are expecting.

"I'm not against having a minor league here if the economy will support it, but I've not seen the numbers to correlate to that," she said, noting that the first lease agreement that was released seemed like it bended more toward the Hagerstown Suns' owners than the authority or the city.

That lease was taken down from the city's website after the city requested more leeway in the terms.

Deskins said a draft of an updated lease will not be available for public's viewing until after officials secure financing numbers.

8 Comments | Leave a comment

    The novelty of this misguided folly continues. Should this stadium be built, it will wear off quickly. The average attendance will probably be a few hundred people and 15 million in public funds will have been wasted.

    What happened to the convention center idea? At least that would be truly "multi-purpose" and with the right event planning, probably profitable. What do you do with an outdoor stadium in the winter? Nothing! I can't seem to shake the belief that something nefarious is going on here. Who is really going to profit from this ridiculous idea? Certainly not the residents of this area.

      @ Oh, Please!

      If you are going to spout off, at least state facts. Telling people that "attendance will probably be a few hundred people" is a complete misrepresentation of reality by someone who doesn't have a clue. Want facts? Take a look at last year's attedance rankings for ALL of minor league or minor league-like baseball clubs:



      If we are talking about the same thing about 20 years ago Shenandoah University-Winchester-Frederick County had came up with an idea to build a 5000-6000 seat arena/convention center. At first most were happy with it until a local guy named Walley Weiner ( ? on the spelling ) had started a grass roots effort to kill the project such a letters to the paper, petitions and getting local businesses to go against the project.. Walley's case was that the "big stars" such as Elton John, Toby Keith and events like Ringling Brothers Circus were "not allowed" to play Winchester. It worked even though some acts like Elton John had played in SMALLER markets than Winchester in the past so as a result the convention center/arena project was cancelled.

      A few years later when Martinsburg/Berkeley County tried to get into the convention center/arena game on their own, Walley stepped in and that project was cancelled too. The guy sure had power at the time for NOT being in politics.

      Anyway during the late 90's Walley Weiner made a BIG mistake of turning his attention from convention centers to "cleaning up" local radio stations. Trying to stop all the "foul language, graphic sex and trash" one heard over Q102, WINC, WLTF, WFTR, etc....Walley tried to launch boycotts and such. Problem was nobody believed him and felt he was "full of it". The boycotts were D.O.A !! Had either Winchester or Martinsburg, well just waited ten years ( after Walley ) perhaps we would had seen a multi-purpose convention center/arena in this region

    I also have been wondering just who in particular is pushing this idea. There has to be a financial gain or trading of favors for individuals because it is going to cost the taxpayers a bundle.

    Winchester and Frederick County have been governed by a powerful Republican cadre of Good Old Boys from the Harry Byrd clique for many decades. Foolish head-scratching ideas like allowing the closing of Millwood Avenue followed by this baseball stadium hootenanny are the latest examples of the smoke filled room madness that substitutes for good governance by these elected officials.

    Isn't it time to vote for a change? Where are the Independents-without-benefits when we need them?

    I take it most of you people don't get out much. Anybody been to Frederick, MD on game day? But what I really get a chuckle from are the people trying to compare the Valley League with minor league baseball---two completely different things!
    Unfortunately, unless it's something to do with NASCAR, a monster truck pull, gun show or the Confederate flag, it won't gain momentum here. Too bad.

    "a fool and his money are soon parted"
    This is a pipedream of an aging population. If you check with the local youth baseball leagues, you'll see a steady decline in baseball/softball participation. And if you go to any of the minor league games in our region, you'll see more examples of a fading pastime.

    Who is asking for a stadium? Who really would benefit from it being built. A stadium will sit empty and you'll still have ppl clamoring for more trails, parks, soccer fields and pools.

    And that link showing the avg attendance of games is a great resource....look at how low most VA teams rank.
    But I don't need a website to tell me nobody goes to minor league baseball game....I live in Front Royal, home of the Bing Crosby stadium....Hint: naming your stadium after a crooner born in 1903, pretty much means your destined for empty seats.

    Would renaming The Bing to Justin Beiber Park get more people in the stadium? Baseball is about tradition, having that stadium named after one of the greatest entertainers of all time is an honor. I played many games in that stadium and I have never heard anyone ever say they were not going to attend a game there because its named after Bing Crosby. Guys from out of town that I played against still talk about that stadium. It was and is one of the great ballparks in Virginia. You say you're a "Front Royal Family", but there is no way that you are from Front Royal if you talk about The Bing like that! Please return to No. Va and we'll continue to visit the best baseball park around, Bing Crosby Stadium!!!!!!

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