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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Some Wilmington city leaders are crying foul over a petition to stop a publicly funded baseball stadium. They believe the wording is too broad and could jeopardize other events.

Josh Fulton is one of the Wilmington residents behind the petition. He says the petition has already been reworded once to specifically reference the proposed baseball stadium and if it had to be reworded again…

“It would be a disaster I mean, it’s such a pain dealing with all these modifications,” Fulton explained.

The current petition states:
“No city monies shall be used, either directly or indirectly, to fund any multi-use sports stadium for the purpose of professional sports and other events, including but not limited to a baseball stadium.”

The interim city attorney believes the phrase “and other events” is pretty far reaching and in a court of law, could be perceived to include Legion stadium.

“The Sharks baseball game. We could not allow them to do any kind of concessions. Same thing with the Hammerheads, 100% would have to come to the city. A lot of the time they use those concession to subsidize what the team is doing out there,” said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo.

Fulton says it was never their intent for the petition to include Legion stadium or other forms of entertainment like the Azalea festival or Riverfest.

“I don’t think other people would think that,” said Fulton. “But if they project that image then it would make people probably less likely to support us.”

They currently have 150 signatures on the petition. If they reword it, they have to start all over.

If 2,882 Wilmington residents sign the petition, city council either has to approve the ordinance as it’s written, or must call for a special election and put the proposed ordinance on the ballot.

Comment on this Story

  • Joe Knight

    I heard all the same negative naysayers comments when Winston Salem built their baseball ballpark. The first game there wer more than 7000 people and it has more than paid for itself. It sells out every weekend and has good crowds most weeknights A ballpark is more than a facility, It is a place where fathers and grandfathers bond with their kids and create lifetimes of memories. A place where families can goe out for an affordable evening Somethings are just worth it.

  • Guest6969696969

    CONT…. from My earlier reply as I don’t think the whole comment posted..

    There are more PRESSING issues facing Wilmington, than trying to bring a Ball team here… at this point, (I’d follow the money), to find out whom this is going to benifit personally, not just by Money, though “EGO’S” could have a hand in it, though I’m leaning towars “follow the money”, because it sure isn’t the City residents that own property in ILM that will be benifiting on this Issue, ones that most likely that don’t care nor can affored “another” Tax Increase on this Huge White Elephant, ( Or the One that yet has turned a dime of Profit on investment), in the Roomeg the Convention Center, (As if it wasn’t enough shoved down our throats, or errrm, up OUR collective rear-ends),… NOT that I’m against it, IT could be a “Multi-use” Stadium , be nice to get some Big name, decent Music bands here…

  • Guest6969696969

    With grandoise Ideas about a New Basball Stadium, built, Based on Property Taxes et al.
    We are facing a very Possible “Double-Dip” recession,, Lordy, tell the truth what this is,*MSN*, eg Mainstream news.. a DEPRESSION.
    Based on the Housing Boom & Bust, Declineing proptery values, that reflects on in tax base created/collected
    Wilmington, is reported to be facing a 13 MILLION short-fall in the City Budget…

    So if the recent New Hanover County tax base revaluations hold true at a 8.21% DECREASE, then Wilmington, (the city) can also expect a $4.3 million loss for the city if there is no adjustment to the tax rate. Unless the City holds taxes “steady” or Increases them… meaning they, (the City) would have to increase tax value on propertty, by 4 cents per 100.00 to “stay even NOW”.

    i’m not sure, though i’m fairly postive that this “short-fall”, Wilmington is facing is on “DEBT-SERVICE” on bonds that are already out there.

    If i were looking to get “re-elected”,
    First thing Wilmington needs to do, is PAY DOWN, and try My darndist to eliminate the DEBT that the city carries…

    2 & 3–>Bring JOBS to the area, thats Job #1 to the City, Secondly, We need to update & Fix our ailing Infrastructure ,& roads

    4 Getting those done, putting more people to work, would benifit everyone, reducing crime as more people have jobs, Am I on the right track here? I ask you the reader….

    5. About the *Mega-Port*… I’ll leave this comment. Look at the Baltic Dry index, Now, is sitting around ,hitting all time lows,(It’s the Shipping Index for those whom don’t know), IT IS NOT a very good time to invest in a Huge Project like this….
    I think Making continued “improvements” to our existing Port & Improving the Railway & Road access would be a better Idea…(NOT by building another bridge to no-where either)

    6. Get rid of that Monster called the cfpua, or have it “re-structured”….Billing residents ONLY for the amount of water *used*, NOT some crazy 3 tierd structure, taking money from people that can/ or use very little water.. Mean-while, creating “incentives”, to “re-use” grey water, for other uses, such as watering your garden or Lawn.Promote the use of “rain-barrels”.. Both of these incentives could creat plumbing oppertunities & Carpenter/roofing/gutter hanger jobs.

    7. Thinking right NOW, mainly about “gas prices”, I expect to see our Tax/Sales recepts to further DROP this coming summer, Along w/the Hotel room Tax, as people decide to “Staycation” at home this summer,Not visiting the beach/Hotels, If it holds true that gas prices are going to Increase almost to 5 dollars/gal this coming summer…. As a Mayor of a Tourist Town, I would keep THAT in mind…

    Back on Topic, this *BaseBall* Stadium, We just cannot afford “right now”, even to “study” the issue.. much less build one. UNLESS it is paid for with PRIVTE Investment & Captial!

  • ChefnSurf

    If there’s a problem with the wording of the petition re-write it. Consult with an attorney, re-write it correctly, roll up your sleeves and double your efforts to get it signed correctly. That’s not going to happen if time is wasted just explaining or complaining.
    In Wilmington, apparently the only words that count are the written ones. One need not go any further than Saffo’s oral campaign promises to validate that point.

  • Erlkoenig

    I have a problem with Taxo saffo’s wording where he says one thing and does another.

  • Guest757

    Is the Mayor of our beloved city starting to worry.. No need Mr. Saffo they are going to get more than need on their petition..
    The people of Wilmington can’t afford anymore taxes. The water authority has put an end to that.

  • Mky Jct voter

    Why can only Wilmington residents petition against this “White Elephant”? They want the county to join in on this mess to come. All the residents of the county will certainly be stuck for the next 20 years to pay if it gets built. If were such a good deal and investment, private investors would be seeking to partake in the venture. It’s just a scheme to make money for a few of the already rich and soak the taxpayers when they pull out and move on. Look at Lynchburg, VA. They are getting left for this team to move out and fine another sucker town. Please ALL Wilmington residents sign that petition.

  • GuestRumblefish

    Mr.Fulton: Our esteemed mayor and his lackey the interim city attorney are using weasel words to throw you and your efforts off track. I am sure that somewhere in this city you could find a supportive lawyer who would be most delighted to help you in your campaign.

    Listen, you have according to this report only 150 signatures which is around five percent of what you need. The disaster wouldn’t be a current rewrite, the disaster would be that your efforts will fail entirely if you don’t take the time to word this petition right the first time.

    The mayor has a taxpayer funded lawyer doing his bidding, you don’t.

  • Challengetheworld

    Fulton you were over your head running for council, now your lack of management experience has led to another legal forum. Technically, you made people sign a document under false pretenses. The petition is now invalid and if you try to ratify it I will find the best lawyer in North Carolina to make you cry all the way home!

  • Peyton Garrett

    From the current looks of things it seems as if Mr Fulton and his cohort did not perform due diligence in the research for the wording of their petition. It does have broad far reaching wording. Mr. Fulton’s responses to this are inadequate also. “We did not intend” Leaves a lot to question. “It is such a pain dealing with these modifications”. Well sir You started this process, perhaps prematurely. Your credibility is waning. If you are trying to position yourself for another run at council, you are failing miserably.

  • Guest Reply

    If the “One/or Group” creates a “Legal Battle” against government…the “One /or Group” needs (or should have) legal representation to proceed for obvious variables. The Mayor and city attorney found a glitch, and quickly.
    Trouble is, finding an attorney in Wilmington…that hasn’t done work for the city of Wilmington, and on a retainer.
    Good luck…call your Congress Rep. in Raleigh for advice, because this petition is for a good cause! Monkey Junction annexation got stopped…didn’t it?

  • Guest Reply

    Read this article from the Star News…and you will see where there will be a “Double Whammy” forthcoming in city taxes to pay for all fiasco’s:


    Guess the baseball park was meant to lure you away from other issues needing our tax dollars for mismanaged funds.

  • taxpayer

    was paying for 13 WPD officer positions. That grant is expiring. We need to keep the 13 officers, but this goes to show what happens when you pay for full-time employees with “part-time” money. Just as our illustrious Governator, Bev Perdue did with “stimulus” funds…paid ongoing bills with one-time money.

    I urge the City to cut out the amount budgeted for “studies”…and keep the police officers.


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