by: Mark Becker Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It's taken years of planning and court battles, but the groundbreaking for a new baseball stadium in Uptown Charlotte has finally occurred.
The groundbreaking ceremony occurred Friday morning.
The new BB&T ballpark on Graham Street is a key part of the city's 2020 vision plan for a ballpark neighborhood uptown.
It will be just two blocks from the Bank of America Stadium, across the street from a new county park, and it will transform the city's Third Ward neighborhood.
"There's probably going to be a hotel down here on Fourth Street. They're talking about sports bars and office buildings and all kinds of great things," said Mike Sposato, president of the Third Ward Neighborhood Association.
Sposato said there is plenty of room for development that will include the ballpark and a new intermodal transportation facility.
Some residents of Third Ward, a tree-covered community tucked into the folds of uptown, are concerned a new stadium will only add to crowding problems they've already seen with Bank of America Stadium.
"Hate that ball field. ... Hate it, hate it, hate it! " said Ruby Pearson, who lives in Third Ward with her daughter.
Pearson said traffic and crowds on game days have caused headaches, and the prospect of another stadium with dozens of baseball games every summer has them looking for a way out.
"I wonder how soon she can put this up for sale," Pearson said as she looked over at her daughter's house.
If she's serious, she'll have about a year and a half to find a buyer. The new stadium is set to open in the spring of 2014.