Developers working on private financing for ballpark; taxpayer share unclear
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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.

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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!

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.

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.

And exactly where are the cars going to park?

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

Trolls? Are you out of your damn mind?

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.

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.

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!!!

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!!

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.

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........

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

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.

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?

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?

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.

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.

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

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