City council members question Mandalay Baseball's proposal
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Members of Wilmington City Council have unanswered questions after Mandalay Baseball's proposal last night. Some want more private dollars involved. Even so, they believe a ballpark would be a big boost to Wilmington's economy.

"It's not about a bunch of guys dressing up and playing a game on a field, this is about economic development," said Wilmington City Councilwoman, Margaret Haynes.

That's why city council says it is doing its due diligence when it comes to building a ballpark. Tuesday night, Mandalay Baseball said the expected cost for a stadium is $33 to $36 million. Flywheel-Trask, the private investors, will contribute $10.5 million toward that cost. Some council members hope that number goes up.

"This has to be done in a very responsible, orderly fashion and that's why we have National Sports to meet our fiduciary responsibility to the citizens," Haynes said.

Council members still have many questions when it comes to Mandalay's proposal, including where's the ballpark going to go? Mayor Pro-tem Earl Sheridan says he would still like to see it in the proposed site downtown.

"Of course I'm willing to look at other things but I'm hopeful that some sort of site that's in the downtown area will be one that is chosen and can work for this thing," Sheridan said.

City council members say they did not ask questions following the presentation because they are going to wait for its consultant, NSS, to analyze it first.

They say this is just the beginning of a process they hope will bring minor league baseball to the Port City.

"Theres been a lot of excitement since we've been talking about this thing so yeah, I do see it building," said Sheridan. "I'm just hoping that we can get some more specifics."

City council members say no final decision has been made on funding.
the city manager and project manager will review the preliminary proposal before they further discuss deal terms.

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IT'S ESIMATED THAT 70% OF PEOPLE IN WILMINGTON ARE AGAINST THE STADIUM BEING BUILT, BUT JUST LIKE THE CURRENT WHITE HOUSE POLITICS, IT WILL BE BUILT, ALL BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND WITHOUT CITIZEN INPUT.

Wilmington citizens have a responsibility/opportunity to look at the costs to build this stadium and determine if it makes sense for their community. Make no mistake, there will be a substantial cost to the taxpayer while the big guys make money. You will be asked to believe that the tourist exposure will be to your benefit. Will it be enough to offset the price you're paying to not only build but maintain it?

As a Morehead City resident, we did not get the opportunity to have any input into the building of a similar but smaller facility here. Our city manager & mayor (both baseball fans) worked behind the scenes out of the public eye with the team owner and his company to get it through without so much as a wimper from our residents. The town council wasn't even aware of the extent of the plan since the manager rolled it out little by little. We found out about the scale of the expensive mess only after the fact. By then it was too late for us to demand transparency and it CONTINUES TO GROW IN COST for both construction and to maintain it. Meanwhile, RSE makes money and taxpayers get the bill. Conveniently, our city manager resigned from his position and took a job out of state, but mark my words, he'll come back to a cushy job with the baseball team before long. It's a disgrace.

At least in Wilmington you have the opportunity to get the facts and figures and have a voice in the matter. We just got it shoved down our throats here in Morehead City. We just haven't gotten the full bill yet. Hope you're able to get a fair deal with officials looking out for you. If it's such a good deal, the private sector should be taking the risks and enjoying the profits. Leave the taxpayer alone for a change.

Best of luck to you - hope it doesn't cost a fortune and raise your taxes even higher.

Before y'all take a giant dump on this idea. Look at what Mandalay Baseball has done in other markets. Look at Frisco TX, Dayton OH, and Oklahoma City. You have no idea what you are attempting to shoot down.

Frisco, Texas is a suburb of Dallas. The population of Frisco is approximately 117,000 while Dallas has a population of 1.1 million. Dayton, OH's population is around 141,000, but the Dayton metropolitan area has a population of 841,000. Oklahoma City has a population of 580,000 the Oklahoma City metropolitan area has a population of 1.25 million. Wilmington has a population of 106,000 and the Wilmington greater metropolitan area, which includes Brunswick and Pender Counties, is 362,000.

Those other cities have the population to sustain a stadium and I would imagine the money to sustain a stadium. Wilmington has neither.

After all this time, Council members are still so unaware of what's going on that not one of them could come up with a question? They have to wait for Mandalay's hand-picked "consultant" to tell them what to ask about first? They couldn't have asked some questions, then talked with their "consultant" and then asked more questions at a later date?

Either this City Council is in way over its head or they're going out of their way to keep as much information as possible away from the general public until after they've done the deal.

Something's really wrong here.

totally irresponsible spending by our elected officials !!!!!

How many times do we have to see these lies?

They are not contributing $10.5M to a total $35M cost. Let's take a look at how it's actually going to be.

Cost of construction: $35M-ish
Cost of the land: $8M-ish
Interest costs over 30 years: $35M-ish (practically doubling the cost as it will with the convention center.)
Operational costs: millions of dollars every year.

That adds to easily over $100M over 30 years, which is what this $10.5M will be contributed over.

It is not $10.5M upfront. It is $350k every year over the course of 30 years. Incidentally, the Braves/Mandalay were supposed to be paying a lease of $300k+ a year, now I don't see it.

So, let's look at the costs just for the first year. Wilmington will spend: $35M + $8M + ~$2M in operating costs = $45M, assuming no overruns.

For that they'll get $350k. Terrible, terrible deal.

For people who want to stop this, go to www.stadium.wilmingtonrants.com to download the petition. Get it into us and we can actually stop this with the force of law.

This just gets better and better as a source of entertainment. Council are liars, the anti stadium crowd are liars, the "development" team is not forthcoming. Please tell then, who is telling the truth. Would council mislead us or cloak all of the facts? I am sure. Would the Josh Fulton, Ben McCoy led faction do the same? You bet. Would the private group proposing the finance package not show all of their cards? If they are good shrewd businessmen they won't. So, who does that leave? Joe Public that's who. The citizens are just going to have to be diligent, sort through it all as best they can and draw their own conclusions and then voice their sentiment as best they can. Is this deal going to happen? It all depends on who You believe the most or at least who is fibbing the least. Doesn't leave a hell of a lot does it.

The people of Wilmington, need to kick these people out of office when they come up for re-election.

THIS STADIUM IS NUTS, WILMINGTON'S TRAFFIC AND INTRASTRUCTURE HAS BEEN SO POORLY PLANNED OVER THE YEARS IT TAKES 45 MIN. TO DRIVE DOWN COLLEGE RD. TO SNOW'S CUT. TAKE THE MONEY AND BUILD OVERPASSES ON OUR MAIN ROAD WAYS. ANYWAY THE STADIUM IDEA IS A COUPLE OF PEOPLE'S IDEA TO MAKE A LEGACY FOR THEMSELVES, AND I BET THE OVERWHELMING
MAJORITY WHO DOESN'T WANT IT, LOSES.

When will the voters of this city wake up and vote these crooks out?? The whole bunch of them need to go including the mayor and the city manager. They are all a bunch of tax and spend liberals who think there is no bottom to the taxpayer piggy bank. The only way a baseball stadium should be built is if it can be done with ZERO tax dollars. if it is such an "economic engine" and such a sure thing then surely private investors would be jumping at the chance to get in on the action.

Since our city is in a financial bind we should not build it. We are paying way too much taxes as it is.

Wilmington has had at least two occasions to have a minor league team here,1995-end1996 Port City Roosters a AA affiliate of Seattle.2001 Wilmington Waves a low clas A team affiliated with the LA Dodgers.As you can see by the dates in existance in Wilmington,neither one was very sucessful.What makes this dictatorship City Council think an Atlanta Braves affilliate would do any better.Both teams would have had to build a ballpark with no help from the County or City. It Never happened.

I am sure that plans are in the works to draw the tax payers of New Hanover County into this fiasco before all is said and done.

Remember the Monkey Junction annex.

Build the stupid thing next to the Convention Center and let people sleep in it already for $1 a night...it has no hotel, which is another screw job by council....HA!
Just don't make me pay for it or any other tax payer. Not everyone in Wilmington is a baseball fan. I thought this town was for basketball anyway.
This issue with this ball field is getting as boring and stupid as the Teen Mom stories.
It's a fact...City Council botches up more so called "important projects" for this city because it's what they are pro's at...and it's sickening!

With all this talk about a new team, what about the one we have? I enjoy going to the Sharks games and having a great time there. But if you look at the amount of people attending these games, the numbers don't justify a new team. How can we as a community spend this enormous amount of money when we can bearly support what we have.

...aren't even capable of asking questions about proposals without first consulting with Mandalay's hand picked "consulting firm" about it?
And, yes, Earl, people are "getting excited" about this, but probably not in the way you'd hoped.
This would be amusing except for the fact the joke is on the Wilmington taxpayer.

I do not want my (tax) dollars spent on nor can I afford baseball.

Wilmington Observer