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June 29, 2012

WVU stadium project clears hurdle

MORGANTOWN — The Monongalia County Commission gave the initial OK Thursday to plans for a new tax increment financing district and a baseball stadium that West Virginia University and other teams would likely share.

Media outlets say all three commissioners pledged support for the project at a three-hour public hearing Wednesday. On Thursday, county commissioners approved a tax increment financing project required to fund the stadium.

Recent developments are the first of several major hurdles. The West Virginia Development Office and the Legislature would still have to grant approval for the stadium near the University Town Centre in Granville to become a reality.

At the hearing, Mon View LLC representatives Jason Donahue and Brian Helmick outlined plans for about $5 million in preliminary road and intersection improvements. They said construction of the stadium itself would follow, at a cost of about $16.2 million. It could be done by February 2014.

Once it’s finished, the developers would build a new $24 million exit along Interstate 79 between Star City and Westover. That could be finished by August 2015.

The project should create about 1,755 construction jobs and about 1,140 permanent jobs, Donahue said.

The developers haven’t specified who will own the stadium, but Helmick said they envision it being publicly owned.

WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck said he sees it as “a true community venture.”

WVU, Fairmont State University and the New York-Penn League have expressed interest in playing there. Luck said the stadium could also host youth baseball events and concerts.

Designstream LLC of Pittsburgh gave WVU 10 renderings of Mountaineer Ballpark last week, and the school posted them on its athletics site. They show a three-level facility with a suite-style upper tier.

o o o o o o

Former West Virginia track All-American Karly Hamric put together a strong effort Thursday in the 1,500-meter run preliminaries to advance to today’s semifinals at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.

The Bruceton Mills native ran the event in 4:15.33 to place seventh in Heat 2 and seventh overall in the field of 30 athletes to advance to the semifinals, which will take place at 6:45 p.m.

The top 24 runners from the preliminaries advance to the semifinals as a result of finishing in the top six from each of the three heats as well as the top six of the remaining athletes. Hamric, representing Riadha, was the top non-automatic qualifying athlete to advance as her time was better than 12 of the automatic qualifiers.

The top 12 finishers in Friday’s semifinals advance to Sunday’s finals round (7:23 p.m. ET), of which the top three finishers advance to represent the United States at the 2012 London Olympic Games in August.

After competing in the 100-meter hurdles semifinals last weekend, WVU senior Chelsea Carrier-Eades will compete in the first four events of the heptathlon Friday with the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200-meter dash at 5:15 p.m.

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