Kannapolis leaders call new Intimidators stadium a 'catalyst' for city's growth

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Officials broke ground on a new minor league baseball stadium Tuesday morning in Kannapolis.

Anchor Kristin Leigh was at the ground breaking and city leaders said they are counting on the stadium to be a major economic boost for the area.

[PAST COVERAGE: Kannapolis approves $52M downtown ballpark; aiming for 2020 opening]

Channel 9 spoke with the new Intimidators team owner about how he hopes to make this venue special for the entire community, not just baseball fans.

His ideas in the works for the venue and the timeline for when the downtown rehabilitation project will be complete on Eyewitness News, at 6.

City officials called the project a catalyst that will help transform the downtown area on the other side of the ball park.

The Kannapolis Sports & Entertainment Venue will be the new home of the Kannapolis Intimidators.

The venue space is designed to host private parties, concerts, and sporting events.

[RELATED: Charlotte Knights to host annual collegiate baseball series in spring 2019]

Andy Sandler, the new Intimidators team owner and city leaders hit baseballs off tees into the future stadium to end the groundbreaking ceremony.

"This is a great day for us," said Kannapolis Mayor Darrel Hinnant.

The city is rehabilitating about 150 acres of the downtown area.

"To have that blank canvas to rebuild an entire downtown around a community vision, where everything fits together because it's all part of a master plan, that just doesn't happen anywhere," said Sandler.

Kannapolis leaders are excited about the restaurants, retail shops, apartments and events coming to the city because the transformation answers the call of a growing population.

"We expect to be 50,000 people very soon. We're growing at a rate of about 1200 people per year," said Mayor Hinnant.

[RELATED: Construction starts at former Charlotte Knights stadium site]

Sandler told Channel 9 he has plenty of ideas for the new stadium.

"There's a new concept in baseball that's like Top Golf and we're going to look at that in the stadium," said Sandler.

Officials said the stadium is expected to be complete by the 2020 baseball season and the downtown rehabilitation project will be complete by 2019.

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