43 Comments for this article

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — We’ve heard a lot lately from those against building a tax-funded ballpark in the Port City, but not much from those who support it. Thursday, we asked them why they have been MIA.

At Wilmington City Council meetings, there are always at least two or three people who speak out against the stadium, but not many have come forward to rally support.

Jim Hundley, the spokesperson for the Wilmington Ballpark Coalition, says he hopes to start more of a grass roots campaign to support their effort and City Council’s push to move the project forward.

“We’ve not been speaking publicly about it. We’ve been working kind of behind the scenes with the business community and the people that support it,” Hundley said. “It’s going to take a lot of people to get this done, but we still remain optimistic and think it’s a good deal for the city.”

John Hinnant, the executive director of Wilmington Downtown Inc., says both those for and against the stadium will make a more prominent stance once more facts come out.

“What is this whole package going to look like? How much is it going to cost? What’s the site going to be?” Hinnant said. “Now that some of the details are starting to get finalized, until we know all the details, it’s hard to advocate for something you don’t know about. I think they’re taking a more strategic approach in the sense that it’s better to have the details and better to have the information. It’s better to have the city work through the process.”

WWAY also spoke with Chris Fernandez, the founder of Portcitybaseball.com. He says they are still here and still talking with people and businesses to get on board in supporting a stadium.

Comment on this Story

Leave a Reply

43 Comments on "Ballpark supporters: Where have they been?"

2015 years 8 months ago

I have been reading the “lovefest” between Chuck and Terry on the SNO facebook forum. Watching the two of them gang up on anyone anti baseball is fun to watch.
As for the supporters and where they’ve been this article is correct in that they are waiting to see what the final proposal is before commenting.
This should tell you something. It tells you that they are not convinced by NSS/Mandalay that in fact baseball is GOOD for the city, otherwise they’d have been “out” already, touting the team and stadium. The same goes for the chamber meeting. It was contentious because they’re not all convinced and they are wondering why the numbers aren’t hard yet.
This is interesting to watch. Downtown businesses themselves are torn on this. The bars see the stadium selling beer as an infringement on their business. The Cotton Exchange closes its retail operations at 530 most nights. Heck even Paddy’s Hollow is closed at 900 or 930 (too late for an after a night game drink).
I don’t “see it” – I don’t see the economic impact numbers from NSS/Mandalay making sense. The attendance figures are too high given our population and therefore all economic impact is overstated.
Best Regards

2015 years 8 months ago

Supporters say Wilmington is a baseball town. In spite of a failed AA level team and a failed A level team. Here’s how other Carolina League teams have faired staying put…….
Team………………..year founded….in existence
Carolina Mudcats……….1978……………34 years
Fredrick Keys………….1989……………23 years
Lynchburg Hillcats……..1963……………49 years
M Beach Pelicans……….1998……………14 years
Potomac Nationals………1978……………34 years
Salem Red Sox………….1968……………44 years
Wilington (Del) Blue Rocks1993……………19 years
W/Salem Dash…………..1945……………67 years

/A lot of these teams changed their affiliations over the years or were bought and sold – but they were established. The major league teams could look at Lynchburg and say “baseball is pretty popular there we can build a stadium and make it work”
In other cases (like Winston Salem) the team played at a college field first and out grew that field but in most of the case these teams were located near large population areas. Potomac is near DC, Fredrick is near Alexandria VA and Washigton, Carolina Mudcats – Zebulon/Raleigh.
They played, they got established, then they got good stadiums.
We seem to be putting the cart before the horse. WE are building the Taj Mahal in the hopes it will be filled. Yet, the team we’re getting is very disappointing in the attendance figures. Our history with Mil-A ball says we don’t support that level of play.
But the proponents want to charge ahead in spite of our history. Its kinda like doing test marketing. After two attempts once has to wonder if the product is worth the effort.
Of course what we’re offering here is to pay for the test marketing in spite of our past failures. The chances are we’ll fail again – only this time we’ll be on the hook for up to $42M and you know what? After 3 failed attempts how many other teams will look at us? NONE !
So why build it? Its not like a hotel. A hotel fails – the building is still there – another chain could come in and take over, or it could be renovated for other businesses. A stadium is a basically a single purpose building for sport and other outdoor events. It would have to be demolished and entirely rebuilt to suit a new business.
History says established teams do well with new stadiums
History says we don’t support minor league baseball
And although Terry and Chuck would like to do it – you can’t change history…..

Best Regards

2015 years 8 months ago

You get one vote,use it wisely.

2015 years 8 months ago

much smaller market,continue to scare-em VOG as this fall plenty of time to debate so burn all your “scare tactics’ now while WWAY supports your tunnel vision.

2015 years 8 months ago

Then you will have a situation like the convention center. The council negotiated and signed a contract knowing that the people were against it. And then claimed that since they had signed the contract they were obligated to go through with it. They did this after the public voted against it. Now you want to let them negotiate and sign a contract then get voter approval. It just won’t fly and that is not the proper way to do it. If there is such a time constraint, then they should consider holding a special election to determine the voter opinion. You would be shelling out taxpayer money for it, but it would save money in the long run.


Related News