UPDATE: City and consultants add ballpark meeting not on Election Night

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The City of Wilmington has scheduled a second public meeting on the proposed baseball stadium after WWAY raised questions about why the first meeting was slated for Election Night.

With a huge red, blue and yellow Atlanta Braves logo at the top, the city announced on its website today that it will host a meeting Tuesday to discuss a potential ballpark to be built in Wilmington and to get input on general areas of where a "publicly-owned baseball stadium" might be located.

The city, along with National Sports Services, the management firm the city hired, scheduled the meeting for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. That's an hour before the polls close in the North Carolina Primary Election. The city has postponed City Council meetings before when they fell on election days.

A city spokeswoman said the meeting was scheduled by a team from National Sports Services and a team from the city on a date where it would not conflict with other meetings and so that there could be two meetings in the month of May. According the calendar on the city's website, the only other meeting scheduled for next week is the Historic Preservation Commission on Thursday. There are no other meetings scheduled before the City Council's meeting on Tuesday, May 15.

After WWAY questioned the scheduling of the meeting on such a busy political night, the city announced a second meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in City Council Chambers. Wednesday's session will begin with attendees viewing a recording of Tuesday's presentation. Following the taped replay, attendees will be able to provide input on potential sites for a minor league baseball stadium in Wilmington.

To our knowledge, this is the first time the city has called it a "publicly-owned stadium." At a news conference a few weeks ago, representatives from Mandalay Baseball Properties and the Atlanta Braves said they were putting together a plan to help finance the stadium.

The city and National Sports Services will also talk about potential locations for the ballpark. However the release says they won't talk about "specific locations."

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Aren't we ALL tired of Government waste? This is yet another example of the Government spending OUR MONEY on frivolous projects. If you agree PLEASE go to www.privatebaseball.com and sign the letter telling our Mayor and City Council.
Sincerely,
Scott Harry

On the one (maybe two) nights a year that my family, and I, decide to take in a baseball game we hop over to catch the Wilmington Sharks. My family has no desire to pay (via taxes) for another team or stadium. If the attendance at a Sharks game is any indication of the attendance in a new stadium, we could build it, but they will NOT come.

Wilmington Observer

If it is a "publicly owned stadium" then the contracts for the concessions, the security, the parking, and other jobs should be given strictly to Wilmington/New Hanover County companies and residents. We need to stop giving contracts to businesses outside the area, so our community can rise up and benefit.

We keep giving contracts to outside businesses who come in with their own workers, do a job, leave with their money, and bring up their own local economies while our people scurry around for the scraps. There's a reason NC unemployment is higher than the National average. We keep giving jobs away to people in other states instead of our own.

- A CITY WEBSITE headed with an ATLANTA BRAVES LOGO
- A discussion focused exclusively on WHERE to locate a
publicly-owned stadium
- A meeting scheduled for ELECTION DAY with a follow-up
meeting scheduled on the following day showing a RECORDING of the
Tue meeting INSTEAD of scheduling the original meeting on Wed
- Meeting attendees allowed to provide input ONLY on POTENTIAL SITES.
- The Atlanta Braves / Mandalay Baseball, NOT THE CITY, putting
together the financing plan.
- NATIONAL SPORTS SERVICES, the firm the city was TOLD to hire
by Mandaly Baseball running the meeting
- THEY WON'T EVEN TALK ABOUT "SPECIFIC LOCATIONS"
- NO DISCUSSION CONCERNING A "PUBLICLY OWNED" STADIUM

Hey ... Anybody know if the Atlanta Braves plan on re-naming the city they just took over? Gee, it sure would be generous of them if they at least allowed Wilmington to keep it's old name.

Naysayers complain about the lack of transparency and the city and it's project manager are holding a public meeting - not one but two - to inform the public and receive input from area residents.....and yet you still complain. You come across as a bunch of spoiled children, fabricating nonsense and complaining just to complain.

The only thing this group of naysayers does is say no to advance their political ambitions.....leaders need vision and area residents are looking for more than no. No isn't a strategy for economic development or a path to prosperity.

This project is a bold economic development initiative with the potential to address many of our city's strategic challenges and a path towards a more prosperous future. If you have a better plan, let's see it.....area residents deserve more than just incessant complainers whose only plan is "no".

Terry .. Perhaps this will clarify my already crystal-clear position.

- Transparency (1): WWAY pushed for the second meeting, not the city. Instead of scheduling the original meeting on Wed, it was scheduled for election day evening when many couldn't make it there.
- Transparency (2): Not one word of discussion on the heart and soul of the whole issue; when or how public funding became the only plan being considered. Discussion only allowed on where the stadium will go, not how it's to be paid for. I can understand that from the baseball execs, but the city should have put its obligation to its taxpayers first. Brings up the question of who's owning who.
- Spoiled children: Spoiled children insist on getting their toys now instead of paying off their bills first. A 13 million dollar deficit isn't exactly chump change.
- Fabricating nonsense: Name one point that wasn't factually true.
- To advance their political ambitions: Zero political ambition, really like doing what I do.
- Leaders need vision: Leaders need the right kind of vision, not just tunnel vision. Leaders also need to be responsive to their constituents as well. A referendum would have indicated that.
- No isn't a strategy: It is when it stops a fiasco before it happens. When you're running a giant deficit you can't spend your way out of it. That's like a gambler returing to a casino to recoup his losses.
- Potential to address .. city's ... challenges: Potential means possible. That's conjectural, not axiomatic. 40 to 50 million is a pretty big bet on a conjecture. Gamblers look for better odds than that in a casino. Then again, they're playing with their own money.
- A better plan: Hmm ... How about this idea: A PRIVATELY FUNDED STADIUM!
- Area residents deserve more than just incessant complainers: You absolutely right. I just think there's a possibility that you don't know why. Area residents deserve leaders with the courage to be fiscally responsible. Leaders who understand you can't spend your way out of problems and into some grand utopia.

The city does not now nor have they ever operated on a $13 million deficit. The city came out of one of the worst recessions in the country's history in a position of strength and with a credit rating and reserve position the envy of all but a very few municipalities in the country approaching the upper 90th percentile in measures of fiscal health.

The notion that Mandalay TOLD the city to hire National Sports is patently absurd. NSS and Ripken were the two finalists for the job and NSS did not have the inherent conflicts of interest of Ripken. Council chose wisely in spite of the politically motivated protests from the naysayers.

Fiasco? I daresay that if you ask the residents and taxpayers of Durham, Greenville, Winston-Salem, Dayton, Toledo, Denver, Columbus, ,etc, fiasco is not how they would describe the results of their plans to revitalize downtown and underperforming and underutilized public assets. Stunning successes perhaps, transformational maybe, fiasco not...we have all the elements for success and indeed 96% of the members of the Wilmington Area Hospitality Association have stated that the stadium will be beneficial to their businesses....96% of our most important industry segment. The debate about whether the stadium is good for local businesses and employers is now officially over....by a score of 96% favorable to zero opposed, 4% neutral.

You're chasing ghosts and conspiracy theories here. If you are intent on finding ghost and conspirators, there is no doubt that you will be successful. Whether or not they actually exist is an entirely different matter.....

Do you honestly think the reason the city is having a meeting on Tuesday night also is just because WWAY "pressured" them?? I'm thinking no.

Besides, so what it's election day? It's a PRIMARY. Maybe I should have taken the day off because it's election day.

And I quote: "The City of Wilmington has scheduled a second public meeting on the proposed baseball stadium after WWAY raised questions about why the first meeting was slated for Election Night."

Yes.

We need this stadium!!!!! We want this stadium!!! Go Braves!

we need this stadium about as much as we need a hole in the head! If this is such a GREAT idea..how about the private investors PAYING FOR IT..not just offering loans. This thing will lead to NOTHING but higher taxes!

*we do need

Noboby messes with Adam We.

I agree do need this stadium like we need a hole in the head, i.e. your nostrils, your mouth, your eyes, your ears.

Play ball!