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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — One day after Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said the proposal for a ballpark is not a good one for the city, many of the main players who pitched the plan are MIA.

We contacted the private developers, Mandalay Baseball and the Atlanta Braves and got very little response.

“Pardon the pun here; we’re putting all of our skin into the game and they have very little skin in the game,” Saffo told Chad Adams during an appearance on The Big Talker FM Tuesday morning.

We wondered what the group that put that proposal together thought about the mayor’s comments, but we heard more answering machines than anything else.
Rich Neumann from Mandalay Baseball simply said, “No comment,” and hung up on us when we asked why.

Co-developer Raiford Trask III refused to go on camera. He did say, “First and foremost, as a taxpayer, I’m glad to see the city is approaching this in that manner. The mayor has always been very fiscally responsible, and there’s no reason to assume he would not be on this project.

“From the first day we talked about this we made it clear that the development team was only interested in this deal if it’s a good deal for the city, the Braves, Mandalay, as well as us.”

Connie Majure-Rhett with the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce said she was in meetings all day and directed us to Jim Hundley of the Wilmington Baseball Coalition.

“I think what the comments suggest is that the mayor and the city council are taking a reasonable approach in making sure that it’s a good deal for the city,” Hundley said.

We did not get calls back from co-developer Clay Boardman from Flywheel, lead architect Chris Boney, or Mike Plant and Chip Moore of the Atlanta Braves.

The private developers, Mandalay Baseball and the Braves are expected to bring an updated proposal to city council in early June.

Meanwhile, a group working on a petition to block taxpayer funding of the ballpark says it is close to the number of signatures it needs to force City Council to adopt their plan or put it up for a public vote. The group will host a public softball game and other activities at Wilmington’s Empie Park Saturday from noon till 3 p.m.

Comment on this Story

  • Comeon

    I’ll say it all again; Mayor Saffo is working to get the best deal for the city and I applaud him for that. After listening to this entire interview, it’s clear that he also understands the tremendous economic impact this stadium will bring to Wilmington.

    In his words: “If this deal is structured properly, this could be a tremendous economic driver for the community. We’re evaluating an economic development proposal with a lot of promise to it. More than anything it’s a quality of life issue because I believe a lot of people would go to the facility. ”

    Economic development, family entertainment and a point of great civic pride. That’s what this stadium will bring and I was glad to hear the Mayor understands that.

  • Guest7969

    then why don’t more families use the current baseball entertainment offered in Wilmington. The BRAVES have basically NOTHING to do with this proposal….the team we would be paying for UNCW could beat!

  • guesty

    “If this deal is structured properly, this could be a tremendous economic driver for the community.”

    That means, complete private funding without any tax dollars going towards it. Anything less is unacceptable.

  • Guest Reply

    Have Iron Man build it…he’s in town!

  • Bravesfan13

    Way to go Saffo…. You promoted a worthless convention center only because it lined the pockets. Now we as a city have a real chance at somethin big and you turn your back on it. I guess our money will keep going to Mrytle Beach and other cities that have SUCCESSFUL ball teams. Don’t forget to vote people!

  • Wilmington Observer

    I do not want my (tax) money used for baseball.

    Wilmington Observer

  • Guestball

    Millions were spend to renovate that some years ago and it isn’t even full on a good night. Atlanta Braves is just that, Atlanta’s team. Is this more about “Downtown” than Wilmington as a whole? I and many, many others don’t watch baseball now, and won’t go downtown even if a new multi-million dollar stadium is built, much like the convention center. Will the price of admission, $5 hot dogs and beverages be a weekly thing for most families? I think not. Why should people that won’t go to this stadium have to pay anything for it?

  • guesty

    Just the same way the idea was kicked around not too long ago to add a $7 fee to vehicle registration to pay for people without cars to ride a bus to the beach.


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