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Developers working on private financing for ballpark; taxpayer share unclear

READ MORE: Developers working on private financing for ballpark; taxpayer share unclear

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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Stadium project

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.

Great post! Hard to argue

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.