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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington is one step closer to making the proposed ballpark become a reality. Wilmington City Council voted Tuesday to hire a project manager to help speed up the process. Despite the city manager proposing the council hire Ripken Design for the job, council members were not so sure that was the best idea.

“I don’t want to start off on the wrong step, so my inclination is to go to the second choice,” said councilman Kevin O’Grady.

That is exactly what city council decided to do. They voted to hire National Sports Services, a company based out of Kansas, as their project manager for the proposed ballpark. Council members said Ripken Design, who the city was originally looking to hire, may have had a conflict of interest with Mandalay Baseball Properties.

“We should honor their discomfort here and try to help them overcome that so that we can get this long term relationship going on the right foot,” O’Grady said.

“I’m disappointed that staff saw fit to put this company at the top when I feel reasonably sure they understood from the beginning that this just wasn’t going to be a workable solution,” said councilman Charlie Rivenbark.

The city was looking at six companies to manage the ballpark project. City manager Sterling Cheatham proposed hiring Ripken, who Mandalay says is the only company who also manages several minor league teams.

“We just didn’t think it was appropriate to have basically one of our fraternity evaluating our proposal,” Mandalay Baseball’s Rich Neuman said.

The council also approved $55,000 to contract with National Sports Services. The city is moving the money from next fiscal year’s budget. Mandalay says they will present their plans alongside National Sports Services to city council at their May 15th meeting.

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4 Comments on "City hires ballpark project manager, councilmembers say Ripken was the wrong choice"

2015 years 9 months ago

Isn’t gambling illegal? That is exactly what the city is doing with your money. Call it what you want, put a fancy name to it but gambling is gambling. I like football, why not a football stadium, racetrack…is this venture all inclusive or just for people that can afford to spend extra money? Will the people that are unemployed or under employed be able to afford it? Sorta like the Titanic if you ask me. The unsinkable ship is full steam ahead, right Saffo?

2015 years 9 months ago

I read your comment and find it interesting. I know you are no talking about Wilmington City Gov’t. They only look after themselves and their friends.

I do wonder why we are spending money and the Ball Park has not even been approved.

joe T.
2015 years 9 months ago

I find it hard to believe that the taxpayers are already footing the bill for what is going to be a negative cash flow fiasco.

Fellow Citizens are voted into government management positions to look out for the citizens that voted them in.

Now we have these council members voting to promote projects that have nothing to do with providing the basic services of government.

When referendums and bond issues come up in one or two years to pay for expenses that should have been accomplished with the $55k and most likely millions more that this ballpark will cost, how are the additional taxes going to be justified?

Wouldn’t is be nice to finish spending money on wasteful projects and focus on what is truly needed and then reduce taxes.

2015 years 9 months ago

Just like Obamacare, the rush to do something really stupid continues.


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