Securing a new baseball facility remains a priority for Marshall University, and city officials continue to discuss including the venue in a larger redevelopment plan.
Marshall University has long considered building a new ballpark for its baseball program, which does not have an exclusive home field and utilizes a variety of facilities throughout its season. Those venues include the Kennedy Center, Linda K. Epling Stadium, and Appalachian Power Park, home of the West Virginia Power (Low A; Sally League).
Earlier this year, there were signs that Marshall and the City of Huntington were considering a larger redevelopment plan that would include a new ballpark. The development is being pitched for land near the university’s existing football and softball facilities that would need to be acquired, and the final project could feature mixed-use amenities such as retail and possibly a hotel.
Both Huntington mayor Steve Williams and Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick confirm that they are working on the proposal, and say that land acquisition remains a key variable in whether it moves forward. More from the Charleston Gazette-Mail:
“The university needs it, the city needs it, and that would be a boon, in my opinion, for that part of town,” said Williams, who is beginning his second term. “If we can have a baseball stadium constructed, that would create a lot of commercial development in that area.
“There is every good reason why we should have a baseball stadium in Huntington. There’s no good reason for not doing everything we can to try to make that happen.”
The hurdle, simply enough, is acquiring the land. Hamrick has 100-percent confidence he can raise the funds for the project, but he needs the acreage near campus to do so.
The city is expected to lead the land acquisition, and could create a tax increment financing district that is similar to what was used for another West Virginia ballpark project–Morgantown’s Monongalia County Ballpark, the home of West Virginia University baseball and the West Virginia Black Bears (Short Season A; NY-Penn League).
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