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WVU: We want new ballpark for us, NY-Penn League team

West Virginia UniversityWest Virginia University officials want to compete in the Big 12 with a new Morgantown ballpark — and see sharing it with a short-season NY-Penn League team.

The Mountaineers play at Hawley Field, certainly a modest college facility by any measure, and not one likely to attract high-profile athletes to the school. With the move to the Big 12, WVU will be facing off against schools with much better ballpark facilities, like Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech.

The plan, proposed by WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck and developer Mon-View LLC, calls for the establishment of a tax-increment-financing (TIF) district in Morgantown, with the proceedings funding a new ballpark at the proposed University Town Center complex. The Mountaineers would use the ballpark during the college season; a New York-Penn League team could then lease it during the summer short season, much in the same way Penn State shares its campus ballpark with the State College Spikes.

Though the plan was met with enthusiasm in WVU circles, it looks like it’s on hold for a year: the legislation needed to enable the TIF district was apparently submitted too late for consideration by the West Virginia Senate and state Commerce Department in this year’s session. While we’re told there’s a slim chance the legislation could slip through this year, but more likely it will need to wait for the 2013 session.


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