The chances of Morgantown, W.Va., landing a New York-Penn League baseball team suffered a blow on Saturday night when the West Virginia legislature failed to approve the Morgantown Tax Increment Financing Bill.
According to the West Virginia MetroNews Network, the Morgantown TIF bill would have created a special tax district to help finance a new stadium, a new interchange along Interstate 79, along with space for retail and commercial businesses.
The $16.2 million baseball stadium would have been for West Virginia University and possibly a New York-Penn League team.
Last month there was a press conference at WVU where NY-P League president Ben Hayes and Pat O'Conner, president and chief executive officer of Minor League Baseball, discussed plans for the stadium and the possibility of an NY-P League team relocating there. During the press conference, there was no mention of Jamestown Jammers as the team. However, several published reports stated the Jammers, who are affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates, were named as the team and it was also reported they had filed relocation papers.
Hayes denied the reports that the team is the Jammers and also said that neither the Jammers or any other NY-P League team had requested relocation.
''I can tell you right now, no club in the New York-Penn League has submitted a relocation application,'' he stated in a Post-Journal article on April 3. ''It is so early in the process for that to happen that anybody who submitted a relocation application would be nuts because they don't know what the deal is yet.''
Hayes noted there is a lot involved in filing for relocation. Then he added, ''What if the West Virginia legislature doesn't approve it? Nothing happens.''
And that appears to be where the stadium proposal stands.
According to the MetroNews, the West Virginia House leadership kept the TIF bill on its inactive calendar for most of the day Saturday and never put it up for a vote on the House floor before the session closed at midnight.
Bills that did not pass the full Legislature by midnight April 13 are dead.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin could choose to put the TIF bill on a special session agenda this weekend when lawmakers return to approve the state budget. House Speaker Rick Thompson said he would push for it.