MORGANTOWN - As West Virginia continues its search for a new baseball coach, the school is also keeping an eye on efforts in Monongalia County to finance and build a new stadium that the team hopes to one day use.
Those plans are progressing, but with some major questions to be answered.
The Monongalia County Commission this week agreed to the initial step of holding a public hearing on a proposal to finance a new ballpark with a tax increment financing (TIF) district. That initial hearing is set for June 27.
But those same commissioners expressed some serious concerns about rushing into a major project that seems to have so many obstacles.
"I'm still not real clear on the project. There are a number of issues,'' commission president Bill Bartolo was quoted by MetroNews. "I'm sure the public hearing will take the time to clear those up and the people who have the answers will be there.''
Among the concerns expressed by commissioners were those involving infrastructure. The new facility is planned for University Town Center, just off the Star City exit of Interstate 79, and there are questions about traffic, utilities and many other issues.
Attorneys for Mon-View LLC, which developed University Town Center, spoke to the Commission and urged the members to quickly set the date for the public hearing to get the project moving.
That's because the developers have already suffered one setback in an effort to establish a TIF district to finance the project. In February, a bill in the state legislature creating a TIF district for the project was shelved because paperwork had not been completed.
A TIF district is designed to use tax revenues above a certain amount to finance projects. Officials designate a certain area in which taxes are collected normally, but any amount above an established level is devoted to the project.
In the case of the ballpark, developers hope to use both a sale TIF and a property TIF for financing. The county must approve the property TIF and the state must approve the sale TIF.