Kannapolis is moving forward with a plan to bring minor league baseball – and economic redevelopment – to its downtown. The Kannapolis City Council approved a design for a new baseball stadium Monday night.
The stadium is a signature piece of city leaders' plans to revitalize downtown Kannapolis. They're calling it a sports and entertainment venue that would host concerts, festivals and the city's minor league baseball team, the Intimidators. (Their name comes from NASCAR legend and Kannapolis native Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s nickname.)
City Manager Mike Legg says ballparks are one of the best ways to generate buzz and foot traffic.
"It has become sort of the go-to economic development tool for downtown revitalization in a lot of places, so we're following suit to what's occurred in other places and been successful," he says.
Legg mentioned ballparks in Charlotte; Greenville, South Carolina; and Birmingham, Alabama.
An early cost estimate for the Kannapolis stadium is $37 million. Legg says the city will develop a preliminary budget within a month based on the approved design. As of now, he says there's no plan to increase taxes – the area's growth will help cover the cost.
Kannapolis aims to open the ballpark by the 2020 baseball season.