WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Today’s announcement brings many unanswered questions and a lot of reaction.
The anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity says Wilmington taxpayers should be sweating this financing issue, but one county in Pennsylvania with a Mandalay-run minor league team says Wilmington will be OK.
“Progressive communities invest and re-invest in themselves, whether there’s tax dollars there or not,” Lackawanna County (PA) Commissioner Corey O’Brien said.
The City of Wilmington seems to be swinging for the fences with its ballpark plans.
Lackawana County, PA, has been through this with a Mandalay team before. The Mandalay-owned Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees play in a state-taxpayer-funded stadium built in 1989, where there is dwindling attendance and a need for renovations.
“We’re looking forward to the future of baseball here and reinvigorating that fan base and that loyalty and rebuilding the economic development,” O’Brien said. “The stadium has brought a great deal of community pride to our region over the years and economic development dollars.”
Despite what a ballpark has done for the Scranton area, Americans for Prosperity says a ballpark will not necessarily lead to a better Wilmington.
“This is not an economic engine,” AFP’s Chris Farr said. “It’s just not. It’s a very cool amenity. People like to have a baseball stadium, but at the end of the day, in a really rough economy taxpayers do not want to pay for a cool amenity.”
A big difference between a ballpark here and in Pennsylvania is that Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is the New York Yankee’s top level minor league affiliate. Wilmington would host one of the Atlanta Braves’ lower level teams.