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Morgantown ballpark bill dies in leg; hopes of revival this week

Proposed West Virginia ballpark

A bill authorizing a TIF district to fund a new ballpark for West Virginia University and a NY-Penn League team died when the West Virginia Legislature adjourned Saturday night, but proponents hope to bring it to a vote in an upcoming special session.

The bill died not because there was a large number of legislators opposed to the measure. It passed the Senate, but House members declined to take up the bill because of unrelated provisions passed by the Senate concerning pay raises for magistrates in small (8,400 population) counties. From the Daily Athenaeum:

“We weren’t expecting it at all. I don’t think anybody was,” [WVU athletic director Oliver] Luck said. “The losers in this are the people of North Central West Virginia.”

Now that the regular legislative session has ended, Luck hopes SB125 will be considered for special session by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin in hopes of not setting the project back any further. Without it, the plan – and the construction of the new baseball stadium – could be set back for another year.

“The special session could take place this week. So, if that’s the case, it doesn’t set us back at all. If it doesn’t take place or if the bill doesn’t pass, then we really have to think about what Plan B is,” Luck said. “They could always introduce the bill again next year, but will there be a minor league team that’s interested in moving next year? Will that development still be available for that kind of project?”

As stated, a special session could be in the offing. The bill would authorize $96 million in TIF financing for a Morgantown development that would include a $16.2-million ballpark.

Rendering courtesy West Virginia University.

RELATED STORIES: New Morgantown ballpark advances; TIF district approved for Morgantown ballpark; First TIF approved for new Morgantown ballpark; New West Virginia ballpark greenlighted by Monogalia CountyWest Virginia ballpark renderings releasedMorgantown emerging as potential Bucs farm-team home?Monongalia County approves WVU ballparkWork continues on new WVU ballparkWVU: We want new ballpark for us, NY-Penn League team


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