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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The City of Wilmington’s talks with Mandalay and the Atlanta Braves are done for the week, but there is still no deal for the proposed ballpark.

With an August 7 deadline looming, Councilman Kevin O’Grady says there is still a lot to work out.

“The past few days there has been frank but usually cordial discussions of issues,” O’Grady said.

O’Grady says there has been significant progress in negotiations on a ballpark deal, but with a 20-year contract to consider, it will take more time to figure out the details of a recommendation.

As far as the issues discussed during the meetings, O’Grady is staying tight-lipped.

“You have to understand there is a complete set of issues,” he said. “No issues are resolved until they all are, so I don’t want to talk about any particular one. Every one relates to the other.”

O’Grady did reiterate that the bond referendum will be less than the $42 million originally cited in a feasibility study

He says negotiations will continue through phone conversations over the next few days, but even with progress, nothing is set in stone.

“I’m just not an odds maker. I can’t tell you what the odds are,” O’Grady said. “We’re moving in the right direction.”

O’Grady says he does not expect to have anything to recommend to council at their special meeting Tuesday. He says everything will be wrapped up by their August 7 meeting, which will lso include a public hearing on a bond referendum on November’s ballot.

We tried to reach Mandalay’s Rich Neumann this afternoon. He has not yet returned our call.

Comment on this Story

  1. MrT

    As I look into my crystal ball, I see the deal is done or very very close.
    The city has made their final proposal, The Braves have moved to support the City. Mandalay is on the hot seat. The deal is too good to say no but not quite good enough for a yes. We must remember The Braves just want to play baseball. They are convinced that baseball and Wilmington are a terrific fit. The City sees potential for great development possibilities at a fixed investment price and Mandalay wants gross profit. Don’t be surprised if other marketing company names are not floated in the next few days. Yogi says “It ain’t over till the Fat Lady Sings”!

  2. Rick Wilson

    Don’t be surpeised if the “Fat Lady” starts singing. I hear her warming up…………

  3. SurfCityTom

    did you miss the piece on the news today that a 4th California municipality is about to default on its debt and declare bankruptcy?

    In the 3 cases which have already taken place, service cuts, employee pay cuts, property tax increase.

    Is that what you want for Wilmington? This ballpark issue could be the issue which pushes the city over the cliff when the ball team owner moves the team in 2 or 3 years.

    I just don’t get it. Do you own that overpriced piece of river front acreage? Or, do you work for the bank which holds the mortgage on the over priced river front acreage? Or do you view this as your means to vault from the local job market to a baseball team management slot?

    Past time for some clear thinking. Past time for all of those over inflated estimates, which even NSS admitted, and face the light of day.

  4. Guest7969

    with the flipping Braves name…THEY ARE NOT COMING TO PLAY HERE!

  5. ChefnSurf

    … instead of any actual facts or even a modicum of financial acumen to support your other-worldly prognastications.

    Add to that a crazy sound bite like “We must remember The Braves just want to play baseball” and one begins to wonder what “skin” you might personally have in the game or have you simply overwhelmed your own common sense with your enthusiasm for baseball.

    The phrase “There’s a sucker born every minute” (possibly P.T. Barnum) seems apropos.

    So, when Madame Zaa-zaa sold you that crystal ball, did you actually believe it was the real thing? Did you give her a whole pile of non-refundable cash for it?

    Somehow, I suspect you did.

  6. Guest1111111111

    A riverfront stadium!!! Glorious!

    Can’t wait to get in line to buy my season tickets.

  7. Guest Reply

    Maybe Council will drop this now, and Wilmington tax payers can go forward with their lives…and one more…the local news media pick back up on the Brian Berger and Teen Mom saga that has influenced our lives so deeply…and has been pushed to the back burners so abruptly!!
    “Iron Man the 3rd” can get on with his filming too :-)

  8. Guest435343

    What still remains is the likely reason no commercial entity wants to pay for this. I recently was in Binghamton NY and I went to a Binghamton Mets game. The stadium was very empty. This is a location that is about 60 miles from at least two fairly major cities with no Pro baseball – Syracuse NY, and Scranton PA. The closest major source of patrons to Wilmington is Raleigh, and maybe Myrtle Beach.

    According to Wikipedia, the stadium cost $4.6 Million to build, and would supposedly cost $7.6 Million to build today. The Wilmington stadium is projected to cost about six times that much. This stadium is owned by the local city government.

    Also, according to Wikipedia, the Mets are likely to pull out of the stadium at the end of this season leaving Binghamton with a nice empty chunk of concrete.

    Links to Wiki references and pictures from the stadium which I took on July 12 during a game.




  9. Wilmington Observer

    I don’t want my (tax) dollars spent on baseball.

    Wilmington Observer

  10. MrT

    There you go again, same old doom and gloom predictions. Don’t you understand that the state on NC will not allow a city to sell bonds unless their reason is sound and their financial condition warrants the risk. I agree with you, You, along with about 10 other regulars on this site, just don’t get it!!
    Hey, Did you hear that the County might get back in the deal?

    Best Regards

  11. SurfCityTom

    so why cloud the issues?

    Do you own that overpriced piece of real estate?

    Do you work for the bank or lender which holds the mortgage on that land?

    Or do you view this as your means to move to a new profession?

  12. MrT

    Now that is one great word. What a shame to have such a great vocabulary with no intellect attached. I enjoy prognosticating, it’s fun and my crystal Ball is a diversion for simple minded people. The fact chef, is that I am just a lot smarter than you and much more experienced in the area of economic development. But, if it will make you feel better, I’m not a great cook.
    Want some advice? Go to a ball game, spend ten bucks and everything will be just fine. Simple terms Bud, even you can understand.

  13. Vog46

    Well it finally happened.
    Over at the SNO blogs Chuck FINALLY admitted, not directly that raising city taxes ONLY, as a way to pay for Saffo’s Folly Field (the ballpark) was becoming problematic.
    Please read the minutes from NH County commissioners meeting here:

    Pg 402:
    “Chuck Kuebler, Port City Baseball requested the board contribute to the proposed baseball stadium project”

    Chuck is now admitting to the following from the blog (Cape fear watchdogs))
    “I have no problem with a 3.5 cent tax increase per 100.00 valuation.
    It is this or continue to pay people unemployment insurance,take your pick.
    I have asked county for $2.00 per taxpayer per month,or $25.00 per county tax-payer per year.”

    Hows that all you county folks? And this is the SECOND time he’s appeared asking for funds……….
    Asking to raise county taxes?
    Port City Baseball is not making too many friends around here, trying to raise both city and county taxes.
    Its no wonder he went to the SNO blogs – he and teryy spencer are having a tax raising love fest over there.


    Best Regards

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