Developers working on private financing for ballpark; taxpayer share unclear


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Submitted: Thu, 04/12/2012 - 3:58am
Updated: Thu, 04/12/2012 - 2:48pm
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Securing financing for a proposed baseball stadium will no longer fall on Wilmington’s shoulders. Today, the Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball Properties announced the ballpark would be financed and constructed privately. Even so, it will still require an uncertain amount of taxpayer dollars.

“We’ve been able to form a development team with extensive national experience to create a private financed and construction proposal for a new ballpark in Wilmington,” Braves Executive VP for Business Operations Mike Plant.

A privately-financed ballpark means two things: developers could secure a 30-year loan, which would reduce the annual payments, and the city will not take on the construction and financing risks. But this does not mean the private sector will actually cover all the costs. Taxpayers are still on the hook, but for how much?

Raiford Trask, one of the developers who stepped up to the plate to help finance the project, is not sure.

“Really, it’s a math problem, and we haven’t done the math, so it would be really premature for me to say that,” Trask, President of Wilmington’s Trask Land Company said. “It’s gonna have to work. We all know it’s gonna have to work for all parties involved.”

A recent WWAY/Big Talker FM/Civitas Institute poll found 86 percent of Wilmington voters do not want a taxpayer-funded stadium. Mayor Bill Saffo does not know yet how much the private partnership would bring to the table.

“We always want to see more of the private investment go up as opposed to the public investment, but they’re also very clear this is going to be a public private partnership,” Saffo said.

Meanwhile, Rich Neumann with Mandalay Baseball Properties asks opponents to the stadium plan to wait until the proposal is presented to the city.

“Let the city and their advisors vet the proposal, question us, validate it, negotiate, whatever they need to do to protect your interests, and then they’ll have a decision to make,” Neumann said.

The private financing group says it will present its proposal to City Council and city staff in approximately 30 days.

62 Comments

  • Farmer says:

    Dr. Robert Baade has been studying publicly funded sports teams since 1984. I will not speak for him. But the facts he presents are compelling enough for me to give a brief abstract of his published research: With few exceptions, the taxpayer always gets screwed when funding stadium projects. Period. Watch a youtube video. Read his books and articles on Google Books. Do not drink the Mandalay Kool-Aid. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFr_MlBi7Eg
    And when the consultant presents the “Feasibility Study”, the first question should be…..How many Feasibility Studies have you performed that DID NOT recommend a stadium? I guarantee that the answer will be ZERO. I have yet to find a Feasibility Study that came back negative in regards to Minor League Baseball. The protest should be Shoeless, because the FIX is in.
    And Starnews, fire your investigative reporters. An 8th grader could gumshoe this topic better than Sebens, Bowen, and McGrath.

  • Simple one says:

    Building the stadium would be a great addition to ILM. If a franchise wants to conduct business in our city we should welcome it. We dont have to pay for it, but we should want “$$” from outside our local area coming to our area. There would be an inital bubble. But the long term benefits, would be a complete downtown skyline, with jobs, a robust youth and middle class. The convention center would have more allure and use. The stadium could be used for public school sporting events. It would create more options with the movie industry, keeping them coming back. If residents pay tax’s to create this in part or whole, tax payers should receive dividends. Companies producing textiles and factory jobs, would be more likely to move to ILM if they had something more to do then stare at the ocean. Although it is a great ocean. The stadium will attract more tourists to our community. Tourists spending there money in our economy = growth, jobs, sustainment. When the economy goes stagnent we just pass around our money to each other and growth is very slow and very long term.

    I say build it. Give them a tax break to build it. Ensure they use 75% of NC residents to build it. Higher local companies to support the stadiums needs. Furthermore, a stadium build on the river would help clean up the older leftover industry not used anymore and replace it by building the NEW WILMINGTON on the roots of the old.

    PLAY BALL!

  • Michael says:

    Sign me up to and my three kids

  • Yo says:

    If this were a AAA team then I’d be interested.
    Why build this new home for a single A team? All it does it drive out the Sharks and replace it with a marginally better team.

    Oh and what happens to the city where they came from, hosed I guess.

  • Mario says:

    I’m in support of this project. Those of us who know how projects like this go understand that due to the size of it, the city/taxpayer will handle at least some of the costs.
    The bigger picture is the impact that stadiums have. Durham saw close to $900 million dollars of private investment in the area around its ballpark.
    If Wilmington is to succeed as a city and move forward it needs to invest in itself.
    Convention centers, stadiums, and the like come at a cost BUT are major catalysts for further growth…
    There is a new Marriot under construction in downtown Wilmington on the corner of Grace and Second Street. (Jobs!) That is a direct result of the convention center. There is also the Indigo planned as well as the 200+ room Embassy Suites. So those opposed to things before weighing all of the facts shouldn’t complain when they can’t find a job or the unemployment rates rise.

  • Terry S says:

    Additional private investors, elimination of financing and construction risk for the city, greater access, more flexibility and better terms and financing structure to go along with an outstanding blend of local, regional and national project team. Very favorable developments…..well done to all. Very beneficial to area residents…..

  • Kirk Giles says:

    I was in Charleston over the weekend visiting family. While there I took the kids out to the ball game. Ironically, The Charleston Riverdogs played the Rome Braves. The stadium was beautiful and had well over 6,000 people in the stands at $11 a pop. The kids got to see Big Leaguer Tim Hudson pitch on rehab for the Braves. This is a great thing for the city. Keep our money in our town. So we don’t have to watch a game in Myrtle Beach, Durham, Zebulon, or Charleston. We need this. The problem with this town it has to many Negative people and those same people is holding this town back, from being great. I can’t wait till Basebal comes. It’s about time..

  • Truthseeker says:

    So lets see. City residents get to pay while adjoining counties, visitors get to enjoy our efforts. Yea, that makes a lot of sense. Let the minority pay for the majority. This should be completely private and cost paid for by ticket and concession revenue. Charge what you want. If people think it is so great they will pay. What happens if the private part folds? City residents and only city residents get stuck withe tab. As long as you idiots keep putting Saffo and his minions in next we will be paying for all council members to ride in limos. Wilmington you must wake up and vote these stooges out who want to use taxes for private enterprise. Presently at the Azalea Festival social functions the bigwigs while drinking their tea and admiring each other are plotting. While their daughters walk around in their gardens wearing bloomers they are figuring how to get more tax payer money. This “Gone with the Wind” group are just greedy ass snobs and they can build that stadium with their money not taxpayers.

  • Guestqqqqqqqqqq says:

    Help bring a stadium to Wilmington

    http://www.PortCityBaseball.com

  • Guest111 says:

    Lynchburg is actually being backfield with a Braves team who’s contract has expired.

  • Guest? says:

    Where do I sign up? Count me in!

  • SurfCityTom says:

    Most folks are not opposed to baseball or a stadium. They are opposed to public tax dollars being used to fund the stadium construction.

    I’ve been to the Charleston baseball stadium when down there. Be honest, there is a stark difference between its location and where the City leaders propose to place the Wilmington stadium. For that matter, look at any stadium — Richmond, Winston Salem, Greensboro, or Durham, for starters. They are all located in areas which were not considered “prime” real estate; and the stadiums did cause surrounding areas to improve in appearance, safety, and tax values.

    Let’s not forget the stadium naming rights and the fees associated. Winston Salem and Greensboro are both named for banks, BB&T and New Bridge.

    Now take your numbers. A Family of 4 @ $11 per pop is $44. Throw in a few hot dogs and non-alcoholic beverages, maybe a program souvenir or 2, maybe a couple of jerseys, and parking, this family outing for 4 is now well north of $100 for about 3 hours; and that assumes Mom & Dad do not imbibe with a couple of cold brewskies.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think baseball is great and would be great in Wilmington. When in Richmond, I saw Dave Justice, Chipper Jones, Deon Sanders, and a host of others in the Braves organization during the 80s.

    And while we’re on the topic of baseball, don’t forget the Wilmington Sharks. Great baseball at a fraction of the cost.

  • Ten Can says:

    No better than a curve to confuse the hitter/public on who going to foot the bill.

  • jj says:

    Simple solution if the people in office had a brain.. Let the people vote on this. Lets get the people that will make money on this out of the picture. If it passes by vote then it is what the people want.

  • jj says:

    Kirk,

    There are plenty of local teams that are just as exciting. You have 4 high school teams, America Legion, Sharks and UNCW. When was the last time you went to any of these? Ticket prices are far below $11 a pop and these teams are trying to win.

    I supported the Rosters when they played here. Until the night a pitcher had a no hitter going in the seventh with the score 0 to 6. The coach pulled the pitcher to allow a pitcher that needed rehab to pitch. The rosters ended up losing 12 to 7.

    That was my last Rosters game.

    SUPPORT THE TEAMS WE HAVE.

    What is wrong with using Legion Stadium?

  • ChefnSurf says:

    Opinions are like sphincters, everybody’s got one, and has a right to have one. The tone of those opinions recently has really upped the ante for craziness to the level of the surreal. And just when I thought Wilmington had maxed out on all of that, we now have a press conference where the message seemed to be that a press conference will be held in thirty days. Kind of like someone saying “You need to have a plan” and the response being “We have a plan. Our plan is to develop a plan”.

    I know there’s more to it than just that, but when someone says ” Really, it’s a math problem, and we haven’t done the math, so it would be really premature for me to say that”, the size of the elephant in the room really crowds out everything else. Why not do the math first and then have a press conference?

    Real information trumps hyperbole every time.

  • guesty says:

    Just don’t use tax money to pay for it.

  • guesty says:

    Put it to a vote? You must be joking. Just like the convention center that had/still has many people opposed to it wasn’t put to a vote. Slick saffo will just shove it on the taxpayers and sit back with greasy hair and that silly smug look on his face.

  • GuestIvi icicle says:

    Who buys a jersey of a minor league team????

    Parking might cost $5.
    Hot dogs are typically $2-3 at minor lg games.
    Cokes are $3.
    You might spend $60, if you’re splurging. And kids under 12 will be around $6-10 tickets, not full price.

    Be smart, and you’re looking at around $50. For a family night out.

    Is a nice dinner at applebees less? No
    Movies? Nope
    Bowling? Nada
    Putt putt? Nahhhh

    It’s the perfect summer night out for a family at possibly the cheapest expense compared to other family outings. Unless you’re an idiot and buy a JERSEY! Hahaha a jersey to a Minor league team. How stupid.

  • Guest _wil says:

    Everyone: Wilmington already committed to a 25 million dollar annual recurring building and employee expense that you have to pay for ie…it’s called the Wilmington Police Department! Along with the new buildings to relocate the public housing from Greenfield St. to brand new multi-unit apartments next door to the police department. You already own the cow, you already spent your money! Here’s the yearly expense link in black and white figures – http://www.wilmingtonnc.gov/portals/0/documents/Finance/Budget/FY%2010-11/Adopted%20Budget/6%20PUBLIC%20SAFETY.pdf

  • Guest Mary says:

    Better yet, pre-sale the 1st 5 years season tickets for the price of the ballpark and see who ‘steps up to the plate’.there you go!solved.no more discussion.if the tickets sell there’s your money.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    You have to wonder, however, who is paying for the road inprovements, the exit ramps, the signs, the increased parking facilities, the additional man hours required by WPD to direct traffic, and all the other additional infrastructure that MIGHT bring in some money in the short term.

    Yes, one thing that hasn’t been mentioned is that these minor league teams are remarkably similar to a state lottery. Initial turnout is fantastic, but once the newness wears thin, so does the attendance. Anyone who attended an Indians game when they were in Kinston AND on a losing streak knows that there was a LOT of room to stretch out in the grandstands.

    But heck, as long as the county stays out of it and my taxes aren’t impacted, you guys can build anything your little hearts desire, anything that makes you happy. It will simply make the rest of us fight annexation that much harder to keep from becoming part of a city with already excessive levels of debt and taxation, likely getting worse if this nonsense goes through.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    to a minor league game in your life. Why not drive up to Durham, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Richmond, or Norfolk and see how many youth jerseys and ball caps are out on fan bodies.

    What was your point other than to sow disension?

    HaHaHa — the pure sound of a fool who has no wit or sense of fact about him.

    You must be a Yankee.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    what do you not understand?

    The area around the Durham park was blighted and infested with run down old factories and tobacco warehouses.

    Of course the construction and investments would force property values up on run down properties, many of which were abandoned.

    Those are not found in the areas where the Wilmington facility will be built.

    You refer to “…those of us who know how projects like this go…”

    You’ve shown just how little about economics and finance you really know.

    Not even a good try.

  • Chad Adams says:

    The Charleston Riverdogs play at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park The stadium is named after Charleston’s longest serving (and current) mayor, Joseph P. Riley, Jr.. The stadium replaced College Park. It was built in 1997 and seats 6,000.
    It was built in 1997 for the current equivalent of $28.2m (1997 dollars – $19.5m).
    The Charleston Riverdogs have at times boosted attendance by giving spectators bobbleheads of such political luminaries as George W. Bush, John Kerry, Barack Obama, John McCain and Alvin Greene.
    Charleston has a population roughly 50% larger than Wilmington’s at 351,482 according to the 2010 census. Will be tough to get numbers even close to Charlestons which are not consistently high.
    On April 11th, they only had 2,682 fans on hand, they did get over 6,000 on April 7th, but that was the exception rather than the rule and have gone downhill since.
    When built in 1996, citizens were told that eventually it would probably be Double-A ball and it has never come to pass.
    According to the Post & Courier, “To secure this idyllic spot along the river for this ballpark took monumental wheeling and dealing. It involved land swaps and tax manipulations and all the other tricks of the trade that (Mayor) Riley has learned along the way.” Sounds familiar. . . .
    All that glitters is not gold and I am yet hopeful that we’ll have some fact driven conversations instead of vague half answers.

  • Guest20202 says:

    They don’t care about the people’s vote. The people of Wilmington voted against the convention center at least two times. They didn’t listen then and they won’t listen now.

  • Guest2020 says:

    An undetermined amount of taxpayer money is to be involved. That is not beneficial to a municipality that is struggling to meet its existing obligations and needs.

  • Guest2020 says:

    They say it will be funded privately, but there will be an undetermined amount of taxpayer money involved. It does sound merely like smoke and mirrors to try to fool the people of Wilmington. Don’t buy into this political trick. But, of course, if the people of Wilmington would quit electing the idiots that gave them the convention center against the people’s will, then Wilmington wouldn’t have to deal with this nonsense. If I was a betting woman, I would wager that Saffo gets re-elected the next time in spite of his broken promises and his insistence that this stadium get built on the backs of the taxpayers.

  • NEw says:

    Invest in a lot and build a parking garage. Build a complete and more appropriate mass-transit system. Stop commuting from outside the city and regentrify downtown ILM. Dont just complain, have a hand in fixing it.

  • Goverment Mule says:

    Easy one. I would use one of the many abandoned / foreclosed properties in the COW, put a sign and just charge $5 a car for special events. A lot of the cars would eventually get towed (more revenue!!!) but hey I get $5.

  • MGMOM says:

    There are tons of parking spaces near the downtown location. Many are owned by Cape Fear Community College (others under construction). The games will be held when students are not in class.

  • Guest111 says:

    Oh I didn’t realize there weren’t any day games! Great cause the students at Cape Fear can’t find parking, themselves.

  • Michael says:

    Who says I haven’t been to a sharks game? Sharkys rule?, Really, except for a good year every now & then they stink. Supporting losers is ignorant. It doesn’t give the owners incentive to field a better team. And there will be a difference between the lowly sharks and a Braves affiliate in competition levels. Slight but there will be. Plus it will be a nicer stadium and better atmosphere.

  • Michael says:

    Great post! Hard to argue facts but some people just argue to argue regardless if facts were in front of them in black & white or not. Typically you know what political party they favor.

  • Mike T says:

    And the process moves forward. April 2014 OPENING DAY !!!

  • no agenda says:

    As an outside observer with a deep pedigree in the sports management-i can assure both sides that the development of this project will add to all’s quality of life and have a positive halo on everyone in Wilmington financial situation. A professional sports team not only adds to the towns identity and swagger-it provides a socio-economic common ground that has no barrier to entry. People of every walk of life will have the Wilm Braves as a source of conversation. Those griping about the tax burden will be the ones who obtain the hundreds of game day jobs associated with the project. A well reasearched individual would realize the deep economic impact that an anchor like pro baseball would provide to your town. If you get educated you will be enlightened.

  • Michael says:

    I love baseball and would love the chance to go to the park with the kids. Be outside enjoying the sun with the smell of the grass and the dirt, eating hot dogs & drinking a nice cold beverage, hearing the crack of the bat when it makes contact with the ball, the dingers and the double plays, the no hitters and the grand slams. Hurry up and get here 2014!!!

  • Guest987 says:

    If you like baseball so much go out to the Sharks games….

  • Ben McCoy says:

    The put up the cash. Just because you like baseball and hot dogs and the sound of bats cracking is not a reason to force people to relinquish more of their property to pay for your recreational tool. Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for this so that a bunch of people can get rich behind the scenes. You don’t see this sort of thing in the business world – only in government. Can you imagine a company like Ford trying to force Chevrolet to buy them a new factory because they don’t want to shoulder the risk – just the profits? But somehow when it’s government, it’s ok when private companies demand that the government force taxpayers to fund their facility so they don’t have to experience the inconvenience and risk – just reap the rewards. What a scam these guys have going for them – this community should be in solidarity telling them to go to hell with their public funding model. Too bad we have people so shallow that their love of baseball overrides all critical analysis and common sense – not to mention dignity and self-respect.

  • Baseball Fan says:

    I love how people like are saying they love baseball and can’t wait for 2014…..We have baseball here and we have baseball here in the summer for the past 15 years!!! This summer it will be 16 years. The same thing you will see at a $40 million ballpark you can see and experience at a Sharks baseball game. Ice cold beer, on-field promotions, post-game firework shows, double plays, home runs……..

  • Mr Guest says:

    you have baseball. the wilmington sharks! a summer, wood bat, baseball league (age of players similar to single-a guys). justin verlander played in the league, ryan zimmerman and more. go to a game. tickets are $5. $1 beer thursday and a $40 family day (4 tickets, 4 sodas, 4 hot dogs) and free ample parking. support the team that is here already! go sharks, sharky rules!!

  • Besty Guesty says:

    If they truly have a plan to build a private stadium with private money, then congratulations and welcome. If the plan requires taxpayer money, don’t go away mad, just go away… far far away.

    The Wilmington public has made it clear that private investment in Wilmington is welcome. Any scheme requiring taxpayers to subsidize your business or taxpayers to assume the risk of your loans and financing is not.

    If this is such a great idea with private financing, then just present it when it is ready. Announcing that you will have an announcement or planning to present a plan in 30 days raises rather than allays skepticism. Plus, if the project has secured private financing, why is it still a public private partnership? There is a whiff of bad shrimp at home plate.

  • Ed Beatty says:

    I agree with you—the article says private financing, not private ownership and liability. My guess is that the taxpayers will be on the hook for Saffo’s new toy. It would be good if they would just tell the truth about the true cost to be funded by the taxpayers.

  • Peyton Garrett says:

    The stadium just moved from downtown out to Eastwood Road. The venue will be different and will give Trask and His group a real push out in Autumn Hall, a central location and near the beach. The price of His commercial property within Autumn Hall just went up. A very good Marketing tool for Him if this is where it indeed comes to fruition. Now Ben McCoy and his trolls can creep back under a bridge from where they came and go into hibernation. Now there is some clarification to the plan. It also shows the Braves really want to be here,,,,for the long hall. Really, no matter which site is used, this will work and the City’s coffers will be rewarded.

  • Guest111 says:

    Trolls? Are you out of your damn mind?

  • Ben McCoy says:

    First of all, your capitalization of “Him” and “His” when referring to Raiford Trask is creepy. I must have missed the memo that stated that he was deified.

    Second, you are a complete coward. You routinely use your fake name and make personal attacks on me completely unprovoked. I don’t know if I stole your lunch money in 3rd grade or accidentally changed lanes without signaling in front of you or what – but it’s really pathetic. You exemplify “cyber courage” – use a fake screen name, and hurl provocations and insults at people directly, knowing full well that if you met them face to face, you wouldn’t dare be so brazen. Your obsession with me is really strange, and you may want to seek medical and/or psychological attention. I don’t know if you are even capable of submitting a comment without calling me out by name, but you are clearly of such limited intellect, that you think that trying to take blind potshots and feeble attempts to discredit me somehow boosts your position that taxpayers should pony up the cash so that Rich Neumann, Bill Saffo, and Bobby Cox can laugh all the way to the bank.

    Those of you who support taxpayers paying for the stadium are wasting time – you should be embracing the new reality that our petition WILL succeed, and you should figure out a way to come up with a lot of private money to build this thing if you want it so bad.

    Adults who cross their arms and stomp their feet and say “I WANT! GIMME GIMME GIMME!” is a really sad sight. You ridicule and insult those very people who are forced to pay the taxes that you want to pay for your playground. But none of you are willing to put your own money where your mouth is.

    We do not oppose baseball or stadiums. Our beef is with the taxpayer funding of this. Figure out a way to have it 100% privately funded, and all opposition will cease. Until then, we will continue on, and we will succeed. The people of Wilmington will have the final say, as it should have been with all of these boondoggles that have been shoved down our throats. We are sick of it.

  • Guest111 says:

    You know, I want to say this. The “city fathers” and their supporters are the MINORITY, period. John Q. Public is the MAJORITY. Your arrogance and the very idea of calling the public (who don’t agree with what you want) trolls reminds me of a spoiled child. Be careful.

  • Alan Pacek says:

    The proposed new stadium needs to be built downtown in support of an integrated downtown strategy – to strengthen and sustain Wilmington. To build it anywhere other than downtown will be counter-productive to Wilmington by only contributing to further urban sprawl.

  • Guest111 says:

    And exactly where are the cars going to park?

  • Elvis says:

    The headline for this article is incredibly misleading. It gives the impression that private sources will fund 100% of the stadium, when in fact it will be a combination of public and private financing.

    You have to read the article to realize that only some undefined amount of money will come from private sources. The rest will come from taxpayers, or some gimmick to make it look like the money is magically created.

    It is clearly not a good sign that no one on the private side is willing to clarify the amount or percentage of funding that they will raise. IMO, the private sector should take 100% of the risks and receive 100% of the rewards.

    Please have enough common sense not to be distracted by the shiny new toy they are dangling in front of you so you don’t notice their hand in your pocket.

  • Guest7969 says:

    CAREFUL….entering into a contract with private LLC’s…you need to be careful to explain WHAT HAPPENS when one of those companies goes belly up….my suspicions are that the cost goes to the TAXPAYERS!..needs to be ALL PRIVATE…PERIOD..NO TAXPAYER money!

  • Guesto says:

    With this announcement can we stop pretending like some magic investment genie was going to fly in and build this thing without taxpayer dollars?

    Proponents kept saying everyone should keep quiet because they don’t know for sure if tax dollars will be used yet. Well this announcement makes it clear now that tax dollars are part of the equation.

  • Guest1111111 says:

    Come on Ben. Be serious for one minute. If anyone used a real name on here and called you out, what are you going to do? I doubt if you met anyone on the street who called you out on a media forum you’d say one thing about it to them.

    You’re the one with the “cyber courage” never showing your face or addressing your “concerns” at a single press conference, city council meeting, nothing…you are the epitome of “cyber courage”. I will give you one thing, you have gone door to door albeit,miss-leading people with your fake numbers (what solid source has your info come from? please let everyone here know) and scare tactics, but you have yet to ONCE..just ONCE sit down (or speak) with anyone involved in this process to find out further details. They are more than happy to speak to anyone interested enough to ask, but you won’t. You sit back and take everything you read on the interwebs as gospel.

    I know what you’ll say. You wont have a sit down with anyone because they’ll just lie to you. Which is sad, you’ve lost faith in your fellow man and are refusing to make proper choices based on relevant information.

    It’s a shame, someone with your motivation and drive could be an amazing boone to our city, instead you choose to complain and name call rather sit down for logical (non-computer-based) conversation, with some research and some healthy debate. Every time someone debates you in these media forums, you immediately digress to using terms like “idiot” or “stupid” within the first few lines. I don’t blame you, you’re doing what you think is right, which is comendable, but your barking on a issue you haven’t researched fully. (please don’t site akdart as research.)

    Hopefully one day you’ll see that change can be made, without the use of anger.

  • Ryan says:

    I’M WITH YOU BEN! HOW ABOUT A TAX CUT!! THE CITY FINALLY GETS OUR HOME VALUES SOMEWHAT IN LINE, THEN THEY RAISE THE TAX RATE SAYING, “WE NEED MONEY, AND WE’VE MADE ALL THE DEEP CUTS WE CAN”… THEN THEY TURN AROUND AND WANT TO SPEND OUR MONEY ON A BALLPARK! THE CONVENTION CENTER WAS SUCH A LAME BRAINED FINANCIAL BUST, THEY DECIDED THEY’D GIVE A BALLPARK A TRY! HEY, I WANT A SWIMMING POOL, MAYBE THE CITY CAN BUILD ME ONE

  • Peyton Garrett says:

    Yes Ben, I refer to you often and with arrogance. It pushes your buttons. It lets you stroke your own huge ego. Someone attacks You or disagrees,not so much your stance on an issue but the way you convey your stance on an issue. It is fine to be passionate but not the way you do it. It just shows your immaturity in dealing with others who don’t agree with you. If it is OK for You to verbally disparage people who disagree with you then You may have to deal with a little more. Besides, your responses give several of us mentally challenged, non-intellectuals something to laugh about almost daily. You take yourself way to seriously.

  • MGMOM says:

    Ben McKoy, when you actually become a property owner in this great city, then, maybe someone will listen to you. Stop complaining about paying property taxes for this multi-use ballpark. You don’t own any property!!! And, yes, I support the ballpark and I don’t mind a slight increase in my property taxes to help fund it. It will give my family an affordable, family, downtown activity to participate in – something we don’t have right now!

  • Mike T says:

    As I read the statements of Mr. McCoy and his friends, I cant figure out if they are Deaf, Blind or just raving Idiots. The stadium investors including the city have a great opportunity to redevelop the economy of Wilmington. The increase in property tax revenue, sales tax revenue alone make tax payer investment worthwhile.As of today you can drop the 40 million dollar figure that you are trying to scare everyone with.
    The price to play is dropping as we speak and in 30 days we will know much more about that. Are the COW Tax Quacks so blind that they cant see the value received from a minor fee, maybe as low as $15.00 per year to bring millions of dollars into the cities revenue stream. The money generated from this economic development project will go a long way toward improving much needed city services.
    The Stadium is just the tip of the iceberg concerning potential development. It seems like nobody in the opposing camp heard or was just too stupid to understand that the city of Durham received some $300 million in downtown development within 5 years of their stadium project. This can happen in Wilmington.
    I cant help but ask why so many have so little faith in their home town and surrounding community? I don,t know what side of Wilmington you people live in but it must be the wrong side!!

  • Matt Hatfield says:

    Are the Braves Ford? And we’re Chevrolet? Or are the politicians Ford? And the taxpayers Chevrolet? You do realize how incoherent you get when you’re angry, Benny?

    It used to be funny but now it is just pathetic. When is it going to get through that thick skull of yours that your nonsensical ramblings that never discuss the actual terms of the proposed agreement are falling on deaf ears?

    You know what your problem is, right? You start foaming at the mouth, typing too fast, ranting and raving incoherently, and you lose the ability to use the English language.

    The people HAVE spoken. The people HAVE told the crooked politicians to go to hell. And that is why YOU and YOUR CRONIES can’t win an election in this town. You are exactly the scheming, dishonest politician we are fed up with.

    Also, take a shower, dude. You smell like a hobo.

  • Guest2012 says:

    Your remarks strike me as ironic because from all I have seen from you and your followers is uninformed rhetoric seemingly intended to brow beat people into agreeing with your OPINION.

  • Challengetheworld says:

    No one will ever be in solidarity behind you. Let us not forget your relationship to a certain councilman. Your support has relinquished your credibility. Fact is, in this kind of business, you do see this in the business world. The mayor is not perfect and he is not always the one to make the best decisions BUT he does look out for new opportunities for Wilmington. I happen to think this is a good one because we need growth from the outside.

    Furthermore, in response to your attack on Peyton Garrett and anonymous names I remind you that some of us like to voice an opinion on the internet in private. You have chosen a different path and because of that both publicly and privately you will forever have a problem. The internet should alway support anonymity because that is one of the things that makes posting your opinion without the possibility of retaliation possible.

    Finally, you mentioned dignity and self-respect. Again, because of your unwavering support of a certain councilman, how in any way could you possibility be able to voice any opinion, advice or otherwise inject ideals on self-respect when he embodied what was the definition of a total lack of dignity and self-respect to his community?

  • Matthew Carter says:

    Way to stay classy… you have just made yourself look like an uneducated blowhard. Public funding goes into stadiums because of the positive impact to that community. Should these companies flip the bill for the stadium themselves? They do not benefit from the economic impact to local hotels, restaurants, corner stores, gas stations, bars, etc. They shoulder a percentage of the cost because they only recieve a percentage of the big picture.

    This stadium is going to happen, my friend. It is going to happen for all the right reasons and our community will be improved because of it. I am not blinded by my love of baseball, as im not a big baseball fan at all. I can simply take a step back and see the big picture, maybe you should give that a try instead of throwing insults around?

  • Mary - relocated Yankee says:

    Totally agree -why not support the Sharks? That team is already here and has a home. Support this Home team.

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