FIRST ON 3 & THE BIG TALKER FM: Wilmington voters continue to reject spending for stadium

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Submitted: Tue, 08/07/2012 - 3:59am
Updated: Tue, 08/07/2012 - 5:05pm

RALEIGH, NC (CIVITAS INSTITUTE) -– A new Civitas Flash Poll shows large majorities of registered voters in Wilmington continuing to oppose spending taxpayer money on a new baseball stadium.

In the recent poll, 80 percent of voters said they were opposed to taxpayer funding of a proposed $40 million baseball park in Wilmington. Opposition rose to 84 percent when they were asked what they thought about the plan if it would raise their taxes.

When voters were asked about a possible November vote on bonds to pay for the ballpark, seventy-seven percent were opposed to a $40 million bond; the same percentage also opposed a $30 million bond. Asked about an even smaller $20 million bond, 74 percent still rejected the plan.

If anything, voter support for a stadium is dwindling. In a February poll, Wilmington voters were asked if they backed the stadium plan if the city of Wilmington funded it. At that time only 70 percent were opposed.

The February and August polls also show a decline in the number of those who made a new ballpark a priority for the city. In that time, the percentage ranking the stadium as a high or medium priority dropped from 32 percent to 23 percent; those saying it should not a priority at all grew from 44 percent to 54 percent.

“The more the voters of Wilmington hear about the stadium proposal, the more they dislike the idea,” said Civitas President Francis X. De Luca. “Our polling in Wilmington and elsewhere across North Carolina shows voters want government to put the brakes on spending, even though elected officials seem to have trouble accepting that fact.”

For more information on Civitas polling, see

Full text of questions from August Flash Poll:

Should building a baseball stadium in Wilmington be …a high priority? A medium priority? A low priority? Or not a priority?

8% High
15% Medium
22% Low
54% Not a Priority

There is a proposal to build a $40 million, 6,500 seat baseball stadium in Wilmington. Would you support? Or would you oppose? building this stadium if it were financed by the taxpayers of Wilmington?

14% Support
80% Oppose
6% Not Sure

Would you support? Or would you oppose? building this stadium if your taxes had to be increased in order to pay for it?

10% Support
84% Oppose
6% Not Sure

The city of Wilmington is considering a November vote on a bond issue of $40 million to finance the construction of a baseball stadium in downtown Wilmington. Would you vote for/against a $40 million bond?

15% For
77% Against
8% Not Sure

OK, what if the bond issue amount were $30 million? Would you vote for/against a $30 million bond?

14% For
77% Against
9% Not Sure

And what if the amount were $20 million? Would you vote for/against a $20 million bond?

19% For
74% Against
7% Not Sure

About the Poll: 300 registered voters in the City of Wilmington were interviewed on Aug. 1 and 2. This poll was conducted by telephone in the voice of a professional announcer. Respondent households were selected at random, using Random Digit Dialed (RDD) sample provided by Survey Sampling, of Fairfield CT. All respondents heard the questions asked identically. Research methodology, questionnaire design and fieldwork for this survey were completed by SurveyUSA of Clifton, NJ. This statement conforms to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. The margin of error was +/- 5.7 percent.

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29 Comments on "FIRST ON 3 & THE BIG TALKER FM: Wilmington voters continue to reject spending for stadium"

2015 years 8 months ago

This guy is an idiot. He clearly has too much time on his hands. If people would exert the same effort into working that they are putting into fighting the stadium, Wilmington would not have the economic problems it has. It is time to take a little responsibility for themselves and stop blaming others. You really should try this Surf City.

2015 years 8 months ago

Somebody must have forgotten to tell you that the call list for the poll was from registered Republican Voters from the Pantano Campaign!!
These carpet baggers from Raleigh will do and say anything to halt progress and they have no respect for any community, just their simple minded ideology. If this crowd did a poll on AK47 ownership in Wilmington, the results would be 99% in favor if you also have a 100 round clip and 6,000 rounds to play with!! Pay no attention to these parasites. Keep up your good work.

2015 years 8 months ago

Lettermans funny, you aren’t !

2015 years 8 months ago

Please, Duke, decide which criteria it is you feel a survey is credible. Back in May you supported 2 surveys with only marginally higher numbers but included many people who WERE NOT registered Wilmington voter. For example, of the 1000 people surveyed in the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce Poll, only 69% were registered voters in the city. That’s 690, or by your comparison a little more than 2/3 0f 1% of voters and you called it a “solid survey with high turnout” because it feebly supported your agenda. The Chamber’s survey was also not random as it was mailed directly to business owners and names supplied by the Wilmington Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. No, clearly these people aren’t biased by their potential financial gain.

I wish you could make up your mind. When a survey is open to those who have no financial responsibility to pay this debt or is specifically directed at those who will gain substantially shows marginal support for a stadium, you call it solid, professionally done, and positive proof. When a survey conducted by someone not on the city’s payroll asks a RANDOM sample of registered voters, it suddenly isn’t valid. You could double or even triple that sample size to match the Chamber Survey and those numbers would change very little.

Please list your credentials that support your experience in statistical analysis or determining sampling size that should somehow supercede that of the Civitas Institute.

2015 years 8 months ago

First council rammed that white elephant Convention Center down the taxpayer’s throats. Now they want to force taxpayers to pay 37 million plus dollars for a giant white mastodon ballpark. And you have the temerity to say Wilmington has economic problems because SurfCityTom isn’t working hard enough?

Someone most definitley is an idiot and I think you just outed yourself as that someone.

2015 years 8 months ago

The WAHA survey is the best survey as City Businesses voted 96% that stadium and Braves singl-a perfect for Wilmington.
There are many surveys,many the only survey that counts is the November 2012 election,this is conclusive,quantifiable,trustworthy.

2015 years 8 months ago

last time I checked, let me make sure…HOLD ON….YUP…the American Flag is STILL flying out there…and it’s a citizens DUTY to hold their ELECTED LEADERSHIP accountable and to call them out when they are stepping out of line. If MORE people would step up to government and do their DUTY…this country wouldn’t be in the state that it’s in now! Your duty to your country to uphold it’s freedoms and hold elected leadership accountable…SHOULD come FIRST!

2015 years 8 months ago

NSS survey included only about 561 city residents after you take out the 31% non residents and the 17% that were WAHA, or Chamber of Commerce “invitees” its in the report
2 Civitas surveys at 300 apiece equals 600
Ben & Josh had 3500 signees – now we’re talking 4100 (3500 + 600)
4100 versus 561?
Isn’t that about 87% to 13%
Does the 80+% number ring a bell with you chuckles?
IS consistency in your vocabulary?

Best Regards

2015 years 8 months ago

The citizenry of this great nation NEED those AK’s and 100 round clips to hold YOU NUT JOBS at bay! If it weren’t for weapons…Obuma would have had us all singing his praises in hymns and marching our kids down the street in khaki outfits with knee high black leather boots!

2015 years 8 months ago

you suffer from has no cure!!
In your spare time how about providing one incident from the President that supports your comments. You my french fried friend are simply a coward and there is no cure.

Grand Ole Party
2015 years 8 months ago

Can you provide one incident from this individual that makes him coward? Where did you dig up that word at? Are you upset because he doesn’t like your sheep herder? Or is he a coward for calling people names, as you are? You my chicken friend are simply and idiot.

2015 years 8 months ago

“These carpet baggers from Raleigh will do and say anything to halt progress and they have no respect for any community, just their simple minded ideology.”

That describes duke to a “t”

Duke is Port city baseball’s version of the John Locke foundation or Americans For Prosperity – an out of town person trying to influence local election issues.
You’re right he’s a carpet bagger !!!!


2015 years 8 months ago

UN weapons treaty….also..typical liberal response to someone who doesn’t agree with them…attack ..I’m probably an obese racist too..right? BTW…I have a military uniform and a scar that will prove I’m not a coward…

2015 years 8 months ago

300 people polled does not make a survey.
1/3 of 1% of City Residents is Hardly a “professional survey”.

2015 years 8 months ago

We do not need a ball park/stadium. Bring on election day. It will be voted down the tubes.

2015 years 8 months ago

I don’t know who is shelling out the money for these polls, but they need to stop wasting the money. Wilmington’s Idiot Council does not care what the taxpayers want. They are hellbent on havin this stadium and come hell or high water they are going to build it regardless of what the people, who are picking up the tab, want.

2015 years 8 months ago


2015 years 8 months ago

A historic place,but if the New York Yankees played there,or UNCW they would fail as well.
Professional Sports need professional venues for fans,players to be successfull and profitable.

2015 years 8 months ago

WHy don’t these illustrious councilmen just let a team play at Legion Stadium for a year and see what kind of numbers support them there? The Sharks aren’t causing traffic jams when they play!!! Hello……

2015 years 8 months ago

#-1, the owner of the over priced waterfront parcel would be unable to unload said over priced piece of real estate.

#-2, the Realtor for the owner of the over priced waterfront parcel would not earn a commission.

#-3, the bank or mortgage company holding the paper on that over priced piece of real estate might have to foreclose and take a loss.

#-4, the Executive Director of that downtown business association would have to find another focal point to validate his job.

#-5, the city police would lose the opportunity to provide off duty security officers.

#-6, the city would not get the fees for permits and inspections which are anticipated to help balance the city budget.

#-7, the City Council would lose the opportunity to push Wilmington over the cliff into bankruptcy, making it the first North Carolina city to achieve that illustrious status.

#-8, the Film Industry would lose the site for “Major League 4, Hurricane Baseball”.

#-9, the outgoing Governor would lose the opportunity to claim credit for the project and all of those anticipated day jobs during the 70 game Home Season.

#-10, the farming community would lose the opportunity to market all of those harvested peanuts which will be bagged and sold for $3.99 per bag.

Well there are 10 reasons. Maybe Letterman would like to use this for his “Top Ten” show segment.

2015 years 8 months ago

If a stadium is such a good idea, let private investors put up their money. This way if it works they will benefit from their investment. I am sure their aer not many private investors lining up with their own money. But good old city council is willing to spend the tax payer’s money on something tax payers done want. How about fixing some roads around here or installing a sign at city limits reading, “Welcome to Wilmington, Home of some of the poorest roads in the State”.

2015 years 8 months ago

might be that the lender may allow the short fall to be attached to other properties that the seller owns. Developers and Builders have been doing this for years. Short fall approval is often handled in days if the lender has accurate information on the owners inability to pay.
I believe the city has the capacity to evaluate potential property and access the cost of remedy and I would think they are beyond that point with the contractors who will bid the project. Your approach is one that tries to lead people to believe the city staff just fell off the turnip truck. The city so far has shown a very positive and professional approach to this project so who are you to raise these questions given your obvious lack of knowledge in these matters?

2015 years 8 months ago

earlier published and televised reports had the purchase price for the river front parcel at something like $8 million; that was when the Trask Group was talking about $4 million for land acquistion. But the same reports noted there was a mortgage of approximately $12 million.

So how will this work? Will the land owner be pulling $4 million from his pocket to pay down the mortgage so he can then sell it for $8 million?

But wait, how can he do that when it’s reported he has outstanding back property taxes.

Or, is the lender going to approve a short sale to allow the property transfer for $8 million?

But wait, normally short sales do not begin unless the property is in some stage of foreclosure. And, normally, it can take up to 6 months for the short sale to wend its way through the approval process.

So how is this land transfer going to work?

And is that why there is such a rush to get something on paper? To keep the lender at bay?

These questions, and more, need to be addressed before the city council commits the taxpayers to another folly.

And what about the reports the property has some tainted aspects which require remediation?

2015 years 8 months ago

The land was considered “brown dirt” when Shoninger bought it and required remediation prior to development. That remediation has not taken place but it could be as easy as adding 36 inches to 48 inches of dirt, which they would probably have to do anyway.
This assumes that it is the same as the land next door at PPD. PPD’s property was also brown dirt. I’ve heard that the bottom floor of the PPD parking deck is useless and requires powered ventilation.
Shoningers land could be better or worse, but since it had NOT been remediated, will probably require a retest. Almont Shipping imported millions of tons of ammonium nitrate which was used by area farmers as fertilizer. It sat in big piles on the property.

The property needs work, and Shoninger didn’t do it
Best Regards

2015 years 8 months ago

Professional venue does not equal NEW venue.
Thee guys are NOT paid well:
“Minor League Baseball player contracts are handled by the Major League Baseball office. Here are the salary ranges:
First contract season: $850/month maximum. After that, open to negotiation
Alien Salary Rates: Different for aliens on visas–mandated by INS (Immigration).
Class AAA–First year: $2,150/month, after first year no less than $2,150/month
Class AA-First year: $1,500/month, after first year no less than $1,500/month
Class A (full season)–First year: $1,050/month, after first year no less than $1,050/month
Class A (short-season)–First year: $850/month, after first year no less than $850/month
Dominican & Venezuelan Summer Leagues–no lower than $300/month
Meal Money: $20 per day at all levels, while on the road.”

Now THERE’s some economic impact for you eh?
These guys won’t be eating anywhere downtown on $20/day
Single A ball belongs at Brooks field, although Kinston has a stadium available right now.
Let them prove they’re worth a new stadium the way the WinstonSalem Dash did and the Charleston Riverdogs did. Both of them played at college fields – no beer sales and hard to find. Both teams grew, and both got new stadiums.
Here we are trying to put the cart before the horse

Best Regards

2015 years 8 months ago

Think little,stay little.

2015 years 8 months ago

Think Chuck think

What else could go on that land, chuck
Think real hard

Here’s the problem – you’re so enamoured with baseball you’e blinded yourself to other uses for that property to include an office park.
Imagine putting 500 people down town every day as opposed to 70 days.
Thsi would have a far grater impact on our local economy than a stadium would any day
So why wasn’t it discussed? The NSS survey failed to consider substitutive uses for that property to do comparison studies.
A better way to do this would have been for the city to use a more independent firm to perform the economic impact study, but Mandalay recommended NSS to the city, and they just said OK.
Thinking big can lead to big failures Chuck, and no one has addressed the true potential for that land – they’ve ONLY looked at a ball park. I’ve got no problem NOT putting a stadium on that property.
Waves ere strike on, Port City Roosters were strike two. Right now I see a pitch I don’t want to swing at.
I’d rather wait till I get one to my liking. This is the 3rd serious interest in 20 years. At that rate we won’t have to wait too long.


2015 years 8 months ago

If there was a stadium there would be jobs because the stadium could not only host a minor league team, but other events as well such as concerts, graduation ceremonies, and private events. More people would come to Wilmington to see the games, which could bring consumers to the local businesses downtown. The tax increase would be minor, about thirty-seven cents per $100, but the benefits would be major. This town is great and can be even greater, but citizens need to see beyond the short-term and look to the long-term.

2015 years 8 months ago

But not for a baseball stadium. I they want to repair and improve our parks, infrastructure and waterfront, I’ll gladly pay for my part of the 37 Million. I’m quite happy to watch good old smalltown baseball while enjoying hotdog and beer at Legion Stadium. Let these leaches from Atlanta find another sucker!