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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The City of Wilmington received a petition today with more than 4,000 signatures. If verified, it will force the city to either adopt an initiative blocking tax money for a ballpark or let voters decide. The move has city leaders fired up.

“The proponents of this, failed politicians that they were, are now going to force the city to spend money to approve this very ill-conceived petition,” Councilman Kevin O’Grady said.

Wilmington City Council members say they are concerned with the broad language in the petition against tax payer funding of a ballpark.

Regardless of their feelings, organizers submitted about the signatures Thursday that will throw a wrench in the ballpark process.

The group that headed up the effort says they just want what’s best for Wilmington and its residents.

“I think that we win in a big way,” organizer Joshua Fulton said. “Eighty-percent of the people in Wilmington don’t want their tax dollars to go up to fund this project, so we’re going to win.”

Members of council say the language of that petition not only affects the new ballpark but also affects other sports teams in the Port City.

“The Sharks and the Hammerheads are not paying the full rate (to rent city stadiums),” Mayor Bill Saffo said. “We subsidize some of those services. We’ll have to take a look at that if that petition is put on the ballot and is passed by the citizens of this community.”

The petition says no city monies shall be used to fund any multi-use sports stadiums for professional sports or other events. O’Grady thinks many of those people who signed the petition did not understand the implications of it.

“When you’re driven by ideology, which is what this is, you make mistakes, and they made a big mistake here; a mistake which, if the citizens buy it, will affect the future of this city,” O’Grady said.

The next step is for the Board of Elections to verify the signatures.

Mandalay Baseball, which would manage the ballpark, says it will wait on verification before deciding what to do.

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70 Comments on "City leaders say petition against publicly-funded ballpark ‘a big mistake’"

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2016 years 21 hours ago

One of the staunch supporters for public funding, 1981Duke or whatever his identity of the day is, used an average attendance of 5,000 during the first season to blow up projected sales tax revenue to the $10 Million range.

From Today’s Star News, which included comments from the former Vice Mayor of Lynchburg who was in town.

First among his comments — “… do not depend on tourism to support the team…”

From the preliminary report presented by the consultant: “…Preliminary findings by National show a year one attendance for a Wilmington stadium projected at 217,600 and about 176,800 by year five…”

217600… Read more »

2016 years 21 hours ago


Unintended Consequence
2016 years 21 hours ago

Looks to me like not only no Hammerheads or Sharks but New Hanover High School needs a new place to play as well…..the implications of this are very unfortunate for all…..thanks to Mr. McCoy

2016 years 21 hours ago

If the Braves want a stadium in Wilmington, all they have to do is cut their Second Baseman. Its that simple.

Dan Uggla-Atlanta Braves
2nd Base
5 yr/$62,000,000

If not my family will have to pay $318 for this stadium that i cannot afford tickets to.

2016 years 21 hours ago

WHO CARES if the city leaders are fired up?!?!?

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