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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — While there’s a lot of support from the business community for a taxpayer-funded baseball stadium in Wilmington, it is not unanimous support.

The Privately Funded Baseball Alliance, started by a local business owner, announced its arrival on the steps of City Hall today. In attendance were other established groups who are for and against a publicly-funded ballpark.

The message of the newest group against a tax-payer funded ballpark is simple.

“No taxpayer dollars on a baseball stadium in Wilmington,” Scott Harry said. “Not in this economy. Not now.”

The Privately Funded Baseball Alliance, started by business owner Harry, is gathering signatures to take its fight to City Council. But it was not the only group on hand for Monday’s announcement.

“I’m a taxpayer, too,” Port City Baseball’s Chuck Kuebler said. “I don’t think anybody wants to see an increase in taxes. It’s easy to say that, but there are times when you have actually taken the tax money desired as an investment purpose and used a stadium, in this case, a minor league baseball team, to really jump start the economy.”

Port City Baseball says it wants to play ball no matter who funds the stadium. The newly founded alliance says that’s exactly what it opposes.

“Back up from the economics,” Harry said. “Whether it’s going to work or not, whether it’s going to benefit the city or not, the bottom line is it’s neither fair nor right to take money, hard-earned money, from citizens of this town and give it to somebody else.”

The alliance is not the only group against a taxpayer-funded stadium. Ben McCoy and his group say they are nearly ready to take his thousands of petitions before Wilmington City Council.

“We support the true definition of economic development,” McCoy said. “We welcome private investors to come in, put their money together however they want to work it out, 100 percent privately, and build a stadium.”

A stadium some say is a field of dreams, but others say is a potential swing and a miss for the city.

McCoy says he has 2,500 of 2,900 signatures he needs to force city council to consider his group’s effort to block public funding of the stadium.

Mandalay Baseball Properties is expected to submit its proposal to Wilmington City Council tomorrow night.

Comment on this Story

  • “I’m a taxpayer, too,” Port City Baseball’s Chuck Kuebler said. “I don’t think anybody wants to see an increase in taxes…”

    Chuck Kuebler doesn’t live in the city. Of course he wants a “free” stadium.

  • JustSayNo

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who spotted Chuck Kuebler’s hypocracy. Neither he not Chris Fernandez, the person responsible for portcitybaseball.com, live in the City of Wilmington. Of COURSE they want Wilmington taxpayers to fund a stadium, it isn’t coming out of their pockets!

  • donimeche56

    I know he’s a “busy” man, but was there ANY representatition from the Wilmington City Council at Monday’s meeting? I don’t think I heard any mention of City Council, (or commissioners) or the Mayor on the newscast when covering this meeting…as to their presence or absence.

    I get it, they probably knew it was lined up by those opposed to using the taxpayer’s base to pay for the facility; but no one was there representing the city at all? Your newscast said there were those in attendance from both sides of the aisle, so why not?

    And, there is also alot of support from the downtown business community OPPOSING using taxpayers to pay for the stadium and complex.

    Anyone want to ASK the mayor?

  • The mayor and his lieutenants are far too important and distinguished to make the trek down from Mt. Olympus and mingle with the little people down here on Earth. We are but ants in their sight. We are fortunate that such immortals even permit us to form our own opinion on the matter.

  • Guest 2+2

    We’d be more inclined to pay for assisting UNCW with starting a college football team than cheap seats baseball! Quick search minor league ticketmaster prices around the country and do the math. Cities letting minor leagues leave who have 2 interstates with millions of people driving past the stadiums means There’s No Money in minor league Baseball.

  • RSimmons

    Chuck Kuebler doesn’t live in the city of Wilmington. When he moves into the city and pays city taxes to support bonding a stadium then he can tell us how great it is.

  • Guest Star

    I’m glad folks here have caught on to Chuck Kuebler’s non-city residence status. And it’s not just him, the founder and driving force behind portcitybaseball.com. Chris Fernandez, is also not a citizen of Wilmington. Sure, if I had a hobby and I could get other people to foot the bill for it, I’d be a big advocate for it, too!
    Chris and Chuck, spend your own money on your hobbies and quit trying to use mine!!

  • JS53

    When I was a kid I grew up near a minor league park. This is it today .. http://www.ballparkreviews.com/template2.php?in_name=Jay%20Littleton%20Ballpark&in_city=Ontario&in_state=California

    It hasn’t been used in years because it priced itself out of the market. The same will happen in Wilmington. We use to chase foul balls and return them to the concession area for either free sodas or a dollar. Kids were active back then. No computer games in air conditioned buildings.

    A minor league park in Wilmington during the summer months wouldn’t draw enough of a crowd to keep it open with the humidity here.


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