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Kannapolis approves next steps for downtown redevelopment

By staff reports
news@salisburypost.com

KANNAPOLIS — The city council late Monday night gave its approval to a major component of the city’s downtown revitalization plan and multiple items related to a new baseball field.

First, the council approved a design for the new street layout of West Avenue and surrounding areas. The council also picked an architect and selected a layout for a baseball field to be located downtown.

In a news release, the City of Kannapolis said it had been working to identify a design for a streetscape that included green space, outdoor dining, social hubs, a maintained traffic flow and parking options. The design also needed to encourage pedestrian activity, provide interaction between businesses downtown and preserve the historic core of the city.

On Monday night, the council approved a design that includes roundabouts, green space and parks space. The design also would narrow West Avenue to one lane of traffic in each direction.

“The streetscape is critical to creating an experience for the people who will live, visit and play in our city,” said Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg. “While it is an outdoor space, it is our living room, and we want everyone to feel welcome, to spend time here and ultimately visit the businesses we expect to attract downtown.”

The entire infrastructure project will include replacing and upsizing aging and undersized underground utilities such as water, sewer and storm water; installing new technologies and resolving tunnel and routing of utility issues. The streetscape is estimated to cost $5 million and the infrastructure is estimated to cost $15 million. Work on the infrastructure and streetscape is projected to begin summer of 2017.

The Kannapolis City Council also approved multiple items that represent the first steps of the construction of a new sports and entertainment venue in downtown Kannapolis.

Architecture firms Populous and Creech and Associates, Inc. were approved as the designers of the baseball field, also known as the Sports and Entertainment Venue. The city council also approved an orientation of the baseball field, which will be constructed at the former K-Town furniture site at Oak and West avenues. It will be the home of the Kannapolis Intimidators.

A preliminary cost estimate for the facility is $37 million with the city partnering with the Kannapolis Intimidators and other entities to cover the costs.

“We are excited to work with an architect firm of this caliber. Their expertise will help us build a venue where people will have the ultimate visitor experience,” Legg said.

The city intends to have the facility open for the start of the 2019 baseball season.

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