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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"

2015 years 10 months ago

…IF they were all full-time jobs. Most likely that number includes the entire team and every game day parking attendant, beer and hot-dog hawker, cashier, etc. I’d be suprised if the stadium had more than two-dozen full time employees.

2015 years 10 months ago

It is way past time for Wilmington to quit electing officials who are in the developers’ pockets. Has anyone besides the builders of the convention center, even made any money off of it? I don’t see how the ballpark would be that much different.

2015 years 10 months ago

We don’t need a ballpark. What we do need is a concert venue where bands, mainly large ones, can play. Trask Coliseum just doesn’t cut it. The sound quality is terrible. Why not put that money towards something that will be profitable.

Mr. Mayor, we warned you against the convention center and you didn’t listen. Now you’re looking in every nook and cranny to find funding to keep it alive. Don’t repeat the same mistake twice!

2015 years 10 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. And their stadium was paid for.

So much for economics.

2015 years 10 months ago

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