One major stumbling block with the county commission seems to be the number of moving parts in the project. Commissioners appear to be wary of moving ahead given that the state legislature must also move on its part of the TIF. They are also concerned about setting the project in motion without infrastructure improvements already in place.
For instance, developers are pushing for a new interchange that would connect the ballpark area and the University Town Center to I-79, but admit that wouldn't even be started until perhaps two years after what they hope is a 2014 opening of the park.
There is also the matter of additional retail shops and restaurants in the area, something that developers pitched as an added benefit to construction of the ballpark and infrastructure improvements. Commissioners seem more likely to give their stamp of approval to the ballpark if it will also help generate more businesses and, thus, more tax revenue. But developers, while they believe the park will generate that interest from retailers, are only building the stadium.
"The original proposal was more expanded than this,'' Bartolo said. "I have a problem handing over taxpayer money just for a ballpark.''
West Virginia University officials support the project - which has received informal approval from the two small municipalities in the area, Granville and Westover - but are not playing a major role in the development. Developers hope that the new facility would be home to some sort of minor league professional team, which would then run the facility and allow WVU to play there.
West Virginia hopes to use the facility as a replacement for on-campus Hawley Field, which is antiquated and not sufficient to host games in the school's new conference, the Big 12. Until a new stadium is built, the Mountaineers are likely to play their Big 12 home games in one of the minor league parks in southern West Virginia, perhaps Charleston's Appalachian Power Park.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.