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StarNews: Council could consider $42 million baseball bond referendum


By Shelby Sebens

The Wilmington City Council could consider moving forward with a $42 million baseball bond referendum at the next regular meeting on July 10. According to city emails, the council could consider a resolution that would direct staff to publicize a plan to apply for Local Government Commission approval for the general obligation bonds.

But Mayor Bill Saffo says that number is high.

“That’s not a number I feel like at this point I can support,” he said when told about the proposed resolution that he had not seen. He said he does not know where the $42 million came from other than it was the high end of a proposed cost for the baseball stadium.

Click here to read more in the Cape Fear Watchdog$ blog at

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Could !

You may have missed the word could( it's used several times in the watch dog blog) in your haste to write another essay. You like many others need only to hold your horses just a few more days and let the deal come forward.
If I had a crystal ball it might say.

1. They will take some of the special features out of the stadium proposal similar to what Greensboro and Winston Salem did and lower to over-all cost.
2. Mandalay/Braves will up the ante by increasing the lease years or payment schedule
3. The city will get the advertising and naming rights for the stadium.
4. The city will get $1 per ticket tax.
5. The finances will come from either .5% food and beverage or about 1.5 cent on $100 dollar evaluation General Revenue Bonds.
I also predict that if the issue makes it to a vote, the citizens of Wilmington will support It and the stadium will be built in the downtown area.
Now Vog, whats your little crystal ball say?

Hold on there Mr T

Here's a quote from the blog:

"The Wilmington City Council could consider moving forward with a $42 million baseball bond referendum at the next regular meeting on July 10. According to city emails, the council could consider a resolution that would direct staff to publicize a plan to apply for Local Government Commission approval for the general obligation bonds."

Thats two "coulds" and both indicate our city leaders could consider it.

But here's what caught my eye:

"The proposed resolution, sent from outside legal counsel to city finance director Debra Mack, states the general obligation bond would be for $42 million"

Outside legal counsel? From where? Mandalay? If so then there are no cuts to the proposed cost.

" The issue would have to go on the ballot and voters would have to decide whether they want to pay 3.5 cents per $100 of value more in property taxes."

Wheres the beverage tax you refer to? This only addresses property taxes and property taxes alone.
From outside counsel no less......

Like I've said the mayor said more skin was needed at $32M
Then the Trask private funding dried up
Oh and by the way according to the Forbes article stadiums that have consistant attendance above 500,00 per year generate good ad revenue and "naming rights" revenues.
Otherwise advertising and naming aren't big deals and this stadium will NOT go over 400,000 - ever according to NSS.

Best Regards

Private Financing

Quit harping on this,as well as costs.
We all know this is a major expenditure and decision.
How do you know there will be no Private sector financing.
In Dayton,Ohio the Bank paid 3 million over 10 years for naming rights.
We will have something similar here as well,or better.
Also do not forget we are jammed here in July/August with Visitors and Tourists,now doubt there might some visitors here with interest.
Allow the process to work itself our,the "SCARE TACTICS/FEAR CAMPAIGN" is not working.

Congratulations Duke

You just hung yourself
The Dayton Dragons are sold out every game for the foreseeable future.
The NSS report indicates that Wilmingtons stadium will not. In fact they state on page that attendance in 2017 will be 231,000.
The Dayton drgaons? 8288 per game X 70 = 580,160.

"In Dayton,Ohio the Bank paid 3 million over 10 years for naming rights"
Yep they did and for good reason the stadium is sold out.
We will not be - re-read NSS its right there in black and white

But if you don't believe me believd Forbes:

"Once MiLB teams with a modern ballpark can get annual attendance up to the 400,000 range, Vataha notes, they can generate significant revenue from sponsors, especially if the team has a modern stadium where luxury suites can be given to sponsors who lavish advertising revenue on the team. Says Vataha, "With a minor league team, you are really running a themed restaurant with a cover charge." We estimate Dayton, which has 30 suites at its state-of-the-art Fifth Third Field, raked in $2.5 million in sponsorship revenue last season, fourth-most in the minors."

NSS says we're NOT like Dayton - so don't go there Duke
Pg 70 Dayton is the 4h LARGEST market by population
Pg 70 We are the 4th SMALLEST
Dayton has 4 times the population draw that we do.
Its all in the NSS report

This is not fear - its facts.
Small market
Small town
Small profit
small attendance
smaller impact

Its no wonder they're going general obligation bonds Revenue bonds won't pay for it.

Best Regards

Stadium naming rights

Maybe it will be Cooperative Bank Stadium...oops...they were taken over by the Feds. How 'bout Cape Fear Bank Stadium...oops...they were taken over by the Feds as well.

Let's call it "Wilmington Stadium"...'cause we've sure been taken over by the tax & spenders in City Hall.

Or...Saffo, Sheridan, Anderson, O'Grady, and Haynes Field.

Park naming

Perhaps we'll call it Cheater's Park oh wait that should read Cheatham's Park

Yeah that's right
We'll video tape opposing teams to steal their signals.
May be we'll have out own bounty program ! (I'll give you 50 small ones to dust off their left fielder)

Best Regards

Stadium Name

"Visionary Field".
Has a nice ring,gander as we watch on the River on a Pleasant Day or Evening with Family,Friends.
Something futuristic,positive and that is not in "your' vocabularly.

You must have giant ...

... "crystals" to feel confident enough to so powerfully project that far into your imaginary future.

I guess if you really love baseball that much, hope springs eternal.

Congrats on loving the game so much. Condolences on being that unrealistic.

Mr. T

I would HOPE that Mandalay/Braves up the ante
If this costs any more the $15M to the taxpayers they will reject it
And remember .5% food and beverage is still a tax increase.
I am fully aware that they are negotiating right up till the meeting and that the final deal will be better than that absurd lease they proposed.

But given what the Mayor has said about the previous figures AND that Mandaly/Atlanta want to preserve that 18% profit I wonder just how far they will go.
If it goes to the voters it gets defeated by a big margin
I still think any deal may fall apart before then

You asked

Best Regards

Crystal Ball

Not sure what Vog's crystal ball says, but mine says you are still a liberal cream puff.

Thanks GOP

Your complement is accepted. I hope you realize your missing a great opportunity to fulfill your greatest dream. Just think if the ballpark is built how many guns will need to be sold in Wilmington. I know you would be happy if everybody at the ballpark was packing. We all know how high the national stats are on murders at ball parks all across the the nation. If your packing at the game, your in great shape when you leave the park and stop by your local bar. Could it get any better?

The people of Wilmington saw

The people of Wilmington saw the convention center for the albatross it is, and they will see this stadium as the albatross it is. They don't know better when it comes to electing mayors and council members, but they know better when it comes to huge building projects that the city cannot afford. Bill Saffo KNOWS that the city cannot afford this. He said it himself during his campaign. What has changed since then that enables Wilmington to afford it now?

Why do you guys keep saying

Why do you guys keep saying this same lie over and over - convention center NOT paid for with property taxes. Center paid for with hotel room taxes tourists pay when they stay here. And no, that fund isn't running short, that is another lie being repeated over and over. Maybe you think people will believe it if you keep saying it over and over because you can't stand that center is a success and breaking all kind of attendance records because people want to visit Wilmington. Quite denying reality!

Could,Should,Would...The Fear Element

This is for people living in fear,like many many "naysayers" are doing,try to scare others and Stadium and Braves into submission.


Scare? No, not even close.
Trying to inject a dose of reality into this situation.
Previous attempts failed due to lack of attendance
And ANY tax increase to pay for an ENTERTAINMENT venue will fail in today's uncertain economic times. People are looking to lower taxes not raise them - but they are willing to pay taxes for ESSENTIAL government services.
This is not ESSENTIAL and therefore will fail !
If demographics don't lie then ask yourself this:
If you're sitting on $900M, and borrowing costs are at a record low why not build it yourself?
Keep all advertising dollars generated
Keep naming rights to the stadium
Keep all ticket revenues
Ask the city for a break on property taxes as an incentive to build here

Atlanta could receive the same deal that PPD did. 7 years property tax free !
Imagine that?

Of course they DID imagine that and said the same things we have been saying all along "Nope too much risk"
Why? because marketing, at it's core is taking whatever numbers and projections you can come up with and twist them to get a desired end result.
The REALITY is this - we WOULD pay $ 3.5 cents EXTRA per $100
All the rest of this is marketing and most people see this as BS. The tax generated, the economic impact the number of jobs created -are all estimates. The tax burden is a hard number.
I still think Atlanta pulls out....or the Mayor/council rejects the deal out right........

Best Regards

Scare those "others"

As I am not flinching,nor should those on the "pro" side.