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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Could this be our field of dreams, and if we build it will they come? Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo thinks so.

“After several tries and weathering a tough economic climate for the last few years, we believe we have finally gotten a proposal that gives the city what we ask for,” Saffo said.

He is talking about a new convention center hotel and baseball park for downtown Wilmington.

Jeff Hren is cautiously optimistic.

“I think a ballpark downtown would be a good idea if it would be economically viable,” he said. “What are we doing building a ballpark downtown if it can’t pay for itself?”

Does that sound familiar? That is what people said when the Convention Center was proposed.

Kim Hufham with the Convention and Visitors Bureau says the hotel is a must.

“We have some associations and groups that we’re working with that require that the hotel be adjacent to the convention in order to even come,” Hufham said.

Brian Stewart loves baseball. He is the head coach at Ashley High School, and he thinks a ballpark would be a good addition to the city.

“I think it would be great for downtown,” Stewart said. “All of the revitalization they are doing with the Convention Center, especially if they made it multi-use, and who knows? They could possibly work out something with Cape Fear Community College and possibly have baseball at the community college level.”

While people are talking and it is generally positive, the city is not quite ready to take you out the ballpark just yet. The proposal is just that. Mandalay Baseball Properties has six months to figure out a potential deal with the city including cost, location, teams available to relocate and whether there’s public support to do it.

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32 Comments on "Ballpark plan brings enthusiasm, skepticism"

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justin
2016 years 2 months ago

I think you need to look at Mandalay’s record, especially their relationship with the Winston-Salem Dash, Billy Prim and the BB&T Ballpark debacle… The ballpark was $15M over budget and a year behind. The project required a tax-funded bailout from city officials. Average ballpark attendance of just 3,600 for the 2010 season, so that’s only half capacity. If it wasn’t for several community events, like the Brew Fest, and concerts relocating to the park, they would have been in the hole again. The $48M project (originally projected to be $33M) was made possible by 54% public funds ($26.7M) and only… Read more »

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Commonsensenotcommontoday
2016 years 2 months ago

…then let private dollars fund it.

When they want the taxpayers on the hook, you know they have their doubts about its viability. If it was a sure thing, they wouldn’t want to share the profits with the city.

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jj
2016 years 2 months ago

If we build the park then I think the city should recieve all the money it brings in. I am talking about concession and tickets. I do not think we should build it and then the team gets all the money.

Also, when the city (me as a tax payer) ask for a ballpark. I believe after voting down the convention center twice the city decide to build it anyway.

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Das Weibstück
2016 years 2 months ago

I think race car track would sell more tickets !!

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SurfCityTom
2016 years 2 months ago

from the count. They are all employees of, and paid by, the major league club.

The same holds true for the manager & coaches.

My company audited the Kinston Indians for the past few years; the majority of true employees were part time. I believe there were fewer than 10 full time positions.

So much for job creation.

As for revenue, not everyone will be willing or able to drop $5 for a beer; $3 for a coke, popcorn, or ships; or $3 for a hot dog. If you attended an Indians game this past year, that was the going rate.… Read more »

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