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Ballpark construction marks new day for Knights

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Knights’ season ended Thursday night with a playoff loss to the Pawtucket Red Sox. But a new era for the minor-league baseball began Friday morning.

At 11 a.m., a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the uptown site where the team’s new ballpark is supposed to rise.

Before construction can begin at the 3rd Ward site, which is surrounded by Mint, Graham and Fourth streets and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, something must be done about Third Street, which runs through the middle of the property.

Plans call for Fourth Street to be widened and traffic redirected so that demolition of Third Street and a building on the ballpark site can be demolished, clearing the way for construction to begin on the 10,000-seat ballpark.

Dan Rajkowski, the Knights’ general manager, said he is eager for construction on the ballpark to get under way so that his team can relocate from Fort Mill, S.C.

“We’re excited that we’re finally starting (construction),” he said. “We had until the first of October (to begin construction), and we should be fully under construction by then.”

This summer, City Council members OK’d giving the team $8 million in taxpayer funds to help build the ballpark, setting the Oct. 1 deadline for construction to start.

Rajkowski said the project is on schedule to be finished by April 2014.

Payton Guion can be reached at payton.guion@mecktimes.com, (704) 817-1344 or on Twitter at @paytonguion.

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