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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Several things must fall into place before a baseball stadium becomes a reality in Wilmington. Some important issues: How are we, meaning the taxpayers, going to fund it? Where would it go? And which team would play here?

Last fall Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo appeared on The Big Talker FM with Chad Adams to talk baseball. Adams asked the mayor if he supported a taxpayer-funded baseball stadium in Wilmington.

“No,” Saffo said. “No. And that’s one of the issues when people come to us and tell us we want to bring a ballteam to your community how are you gonna pay for it?”

But it looks like the city may consider shelling out the tax dollars after all despite what the mayor said while campaigning for reelection.

“I did make those comments,” Saffo said today. “I’d rather see some sort of sales tax pay for it, because everybody who comes in, Brunswick and Pender County, could help pay for this.”

Or it could mean an increase in Wilmington property taxes.

Mayor saffo says he’s actually received a lot of support since announcing the Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball Properties are interested in bringing a team here; a team that could come from Virginia.

The general manager of the Lynchburg Hillcats, Paul Sunwall, has already been put on notice.

“We’re just a piece of the puzzle right now depending on what happens down where you are,” Sunwall said during a phone interview today with WWAY.

As they’re waiting, so are others.

Andrew Aguilar is the general manager of the Wilmington Sharks, a summer wood-bat college league team. As he prepares for the team’s 16th season in Wilmington, it’s uncertain whether they will see many more.

“It would be one of those things where it would be direct competition, one of those things where one would not be able to be here,” Aguilar said.

Of course, it’s all very early in the game. City Council still has to vote to move forward with negotiations.

Aguilar says he’s been down this road before. He ran a team in Mississippi until it struck out after the Braves brought a minor league team to town.

Mayor Saffo says the city has to weigh not only the economic benefits of what a stadium could do for downtown, but also how it would benefit the quality of life for the area.

Council will take up the issue Tuesday night.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest hal stevens

    Wow what a good idea. Raise the sale tax. Them we will have the highest tax in the state. what ever happen to the idea of living with in our means? Must have died with the last administration. that’s it raise the taxes then raise the water bill again then raise the room tax . Wonder if the folks in raleigh will let you put a tax on gasoline also. Then look at the money you will have to throw away. I take it the the convention center is still not able to stand by itself?

  • Guest hal stevens

    Do you really expect honesty from a real estate sales man, if he told the truth he would starve to death.

  • Guestgivmemymony

    If the stadium and hotels are given a green light, I hope this would not give Titan more wind to get their way to open shop here! Construction worker’s would have plenty of work and we have access to plenty of cement just the way things are.

  • Guest1010

    I feel it would be a great move to go ahead with the stadium…once the city has the money needed to have it built without raising taxes to do it.

  • Guest Reply

    Then turn it into a beagle farm for breeding purposes!

  • Guesthal stevens

    Put it next to the convention center. I think we should keep all the white elephants in the same area, And while your at it bring that new road going across the river in to center field.

  • Scott

    Its ok to live here but if you going to see(pros sport)colleges football game in charlotte or Raleigh chapel hill.Wilmington,
    NC doesn’t have the room for place pros baseball or football.Our, taxs is getting to expersives(NHC)Everybody are moving to other countys outside of NHC.to lived&work.


  • Guest Reply

    If they build it next to the Convention Center…a foul ball might bust out a window over there. And then again…if a new hotel is built there too…hotel customers can look out their window and watch for free.

  • ChefnSurf

    Just my own personal opinion, but whenever I see him I get that feeling. Goodness knows, I really would like to be wrong on this.

  • If you have an IQ above 2.3, then you realize that this is a bad deal for Wilmington. Sign the petition against it: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-tax-dollars-for-baseball-stadium/

    Check out our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Tax-Funded-Stadium-in-Downtown-Wilmington/230368410385152

  • OU812

    Just another example of how a politician will tell a bold faced lie to get into office. If it’s such a great idea and money maker, don’t you think private investors would have already built one? Why just a baseball stadium? Why not football, soccer, tennis, lacrosse,racetrack, music venue….where does it end? It doesn’t as long as you have liberals spending everyone elses money. You voted Saff-O in or didn’t vote and allowed him to be put back into office. Enjoy your new tax bills

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