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Ballpark public hearing date set, deal still up in the air

READ MORE: Ballpark public hearing date set, deal still up in the air

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The City of Wilmington continues to inch closer to building a ballpark and bringing a minor league baseball team to the Port City. City leaders held a special meeting Tuesday night to set a public hearing for a bond referendum.

What we do know is that voters will see the bond referendum on the November ballot if a deal can be reached and folks will have a chance to speak their mind about the ballpark August 7. But, most everything else is pretty much unknown.

"There's a lot of details to be worked out," Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said. "We've come to agreement on some terms, and we want to make sure that their lawyers see it, our lawyers approve of it, so there's still a lot of work to be done."

Though there is still so much to be discussed, Mayor Saffo says there is one thing everyone can come to terms with.

"I mean, we're all in agreement, including the Braves and Mandalay: $42 million will not be the number," Saffo said of the potential cost of the ballpark. "It would be lower than that."

Along with Mandalay Baseball and the Atlanta Braves, the city is also in negotiations with property owner Chuck Schoninger for his land along the downtown Wilmington riverfront to build the stadium.

Though progress has been made on a deal, Saffo says with a 20-year contract hanging over their heads, council wants to make sure all questions and concerns are dealt with.

But with an August 7 deadline looming, will there be a stadium in Wilmington?

"I hope so," Saffo said. "I mean, we've worked hard on it, and at the end of the day, it's the citizens' decision."

Also during Tuesday's special meeting, council voted to approve money to renovate the Water Street parking deck.

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Every time I bounce down a

Every time I bounce down a Wilmington road I think of them wasting taxpayer money on that stupid stadium.

'Take me out to the Ballgame"

April 2014............


The city will BORROW the money to build the stadium and the debt service will cost double (or higher) than the actual cost of the stadium build. What about the connecting road(s)cost? Necessary parking deck cost? Common building cost over-runs? Extra infrastructure costs? Possible environmental issue costs? Yearly maintenance & operating cost shortfalls that the taxpayer must cover? Future renovations? Eventual demolition cost? Loss of revenue to existing businesses?
Loss of city property tax for the site? ?????


A tale of two cities:
In 2010 the Winston Salem Dash paid the city enough funds to cover the debt service, paid the city property taxes on the land that otherwise would not be taxed, paid the County taxes on that same property, covered the operating costs, and at the same time allowed the city to profit $86,000. This tam is wildly popular in WS. They have the attendance figures to prove it - we don't have figures, we have estimates.

In 2010 the city of Durham had to transfer $1,600,000 - that's right $1.6M from property tax revenues to cover the losses incurred by the Durham Bulls.
Both cities have a long history of minor league baseball.
I don't believe in property taxes funding this type of project. Revenue bonds were the way to go.
Now the new paradigm for businesses is this. If you do a study that says your business could provide economic impact for the city of Wilmington the city could then use property taxes to build your facility for you.

Best Regards

If You Build It They Will Come???

I believe the Durham Bulls are the most famous minor league team in the country. In earlier discussions the pro side was singing their praises. How can a can't miss lose 1.6 millions dollars? Hard facts vs. predictions.......

1.6 million

Rick and Vog,
you both are comical,general obligation bonds will be used as these carry a better interest rate and are secured by City which is the "secured" borrower and the City has a great credit rating.
Plus the City is the "Borrower",not the Braves/Mandalay.
The Durham Bulls..the management company is on hire from Jan 1 2012--August 31 2012. 8 months,this because the Minor League not the "Bulls" were running this and 'Minor League Baseball" had plans for a minor league baseball Museum,camps and clinics,tournaments at DAP which were not carried out,marketed wrong.
So the 'Bulls" not to blame here,"Minor League Baseball" as owners have been replaced.
Mandalay might be a part of this once City,Bulls,Minor League Baseball' work out roles.

so Duke

Teh city borrows the city's on the hook for how much?
ANYTHING Is too much.
NO public funds for ballparks.
No tax increases. Period
Get it?
Do you get it now?
Best Regards

Duke, don't try to cloud

the issue.

The $1.6 million was in 2010 not 2012 or even 2011.

Can you put your life and assets on the line and confirm this can never happen in Wilmington?

You really must need to unload that overpriced piece of riverfront real estate.

I wonder if the City Council is willing to face years of lawsuits if this blows up in their faces and the city falls over the cliff into bankruptcy?

4 California cities have fallen this year.

Are you that desperate to unload that albatross you would allow Wilmington to fall over the edge? Apparently you are.

The Bonds Cover

The Bonds will cover the costs noted.
There will be no businesses lost,only gained and "lost tax revenue",on land not used.


1981duke this has nothing to do with your comment.Was waiting for you or tweety12 to respond to something.Guesty thinks that we are the same person.Help him out.

You forgot

You forgot to answer your post with one of your other user names.


I know how it is.Sometime we hate to admit when we are wrong and thats ok.See its kind of neat because 1981duke gets under your skin so if you really believe that i am all three people thats cool.That would mean that i have alot of intellect.Cool

Not quite

No, he doesn't get under my skin. His idea of using tax money is what gets under my skin. The way your post reads proves you have little if any intellect.

Bases Loaded!!!

Braves/WCC hit home run on Aug 7th. Grand slam causes opponents to lose in bitter defeat. Game Over!! Box Score-- Opponents: No hits No Runs, to many forced errors. Fulton and McCoy lose golden glove award. Proponents lead all stats enter recruiting period & can't wait for opening day April 2014.
Best Regards!

Anti Depression

After November election,this will be the "opposition".
Baseball alive,Petitions dead.

Hey Chuck

If the petition was ruled invalid isn't it already dead?

Best Regards

The fact

that everyone keeps saying it will be less than $42M makes me think it won't be THAT much less. This goes along with how long the negotiations have dragged on and the secrecy surrounding this. These are taxpayer funds being used it is not a company to company negotiation. If the city knows what is a number THEY can accept THAT number should be released. If the final number is LOWER, hey, good for everyone.
The land deal may be the hang up. Shoninger has stated publicly he needs to get "at least" $12M for the property. I doubt he'll get that, but he was offered $6M by Trask/Flywheel.
Interesting - but I suspect the mayor doesn't want to say how far below $42 the number will be because it won't be that far below....
But as a taxpayer I'd like to know where "our line in the sand" is.
Best Regards

August 7th

And you know,just as much as you can take-in!


"it's the citizens' decision,” were TRUE Mr would STOP NOW and stop wasting tax payers money and time!

Preparing the Public

For the best financial scenario.

The Deal

Continues to get better,sweeten and all for the best of citizens.
We know the maximum based on bond passage,the price will be lower than the 42 million approved for Bonds.
Either for or against I URGE ALL to attend August 7th City Council neeting.
No doubt the place will be packed.


Chuck, may I please borrow your crystal ball? I do not want to wait for the meeting.......


do not listen the liar saffo...on another website the story is that they have NOT decided wether or not is going to be on the ballot !!! let me guess, its NOT going to be on the ballot !look people the ONLY way to defeat this is to vote these clowns out in november . other than that they want it sooooo bad that they will do whatever they have to to make it happen legal or not ! they will subvert our wishes and let this city fall to pieces . there is definetly something fishy going on here .


I wonder why the secrecy? The city, by all accounts, has a figure they can "live with" - so why not release that number? That would serve two purposes. First it would put public pressure on Mandalanta to meet the city's offer. Second it would assuage the mistrust we have in government and in particular, this city's government.
The pro side will argue that negotiations are still underway but THEY have to remember the city is negotiating with OUR Money so we have a right to know. Saffo et al would do well to exhibit some transparency here. The further along they go without releasing the info the more virulent the reaction will be.
Unless, of course, this is what they REALLY fear?

Best Regards

Bad Idea

You can not negotiate this in public,even if public funds are used.
This will only inflate the price to tax-payers.

Inflate the price?

What study did you use to come to that conclusion?
Give me hard figures.

You can't - and you know you can't, produce any figures to justify that statement.
Again and again Chuck you fail to answer the question. Instead your provide incoherent ramblings about see you in 2014 etc etc etc

Why not spout off about how you asked the County Commissioners to increase tax rates county wide so they could be a part of the stadium deal? Its in the minutes of the county commissioners meeting I think dated may 21. More specifically you said in another forum that you asked for $2/month increase in county property taxes.
So I take it since you represented Port City Baseball at those meetings that officially that group is now calling for both city AND county tax increases to pay for the stadium?

I don't belong to any group Chuck. I'm just an old property tax payer who doesn't see the need for ALL property taxpayers to fund this stadium. AS you said in another forum we have a low tax rate when compared to other NC cities and we got poor schools, poor roads and other "poor" things to show for that low tax rate. I see the need for all taxpayers to fund those things Chuck - it's called infrastructure, and although I no longer have kids in county schools I support them with my tax dollars. I drive the roads, I use the water and generate sewerage. The majority of city residents will NOT go to the games, and will not use the stadium for any purpose whatsoever. Thats why revenue bonds would have been the better deal for the pro baseball crowd.
Trust me, I'm not anti baseball. I am however, vehemently opposed to using property taxes to fund this stadium - be they city or county property taxes.
I support the stadium so long as revenue bonds are used AND there's is no way to transfer property tax revenues to cover losses if they occur. This stadium should be self sustaining if all your estimates are true. Funny how you think the revenue bonds are too risky for this eh? Funny how Port City Baseball couldn't convince the city it's numbers were strong enough to justify the use revenue bonds.
You have a lot of convincing to do no mater how "sweet" the deal is

Best Regards

Why Revenue Bonds?

When General Obligation bonds suffice,and are legal?
What is your hang-up on this?
Own a Bond Fund?

Put staduim nearby ILM airport

Best suitable to put stadium nearby ILM airport and I-40 & I-140 due to traffic flow in Port City instead unless if there will be having Cape Fear Skyline Bridge?

Come hell or high water,

Come hell or high water, Wilmington is getting a stadium whether the taxpayers want it or not.

I lke that statement