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WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — Olsen Farm of Wilmington, LLLP, from whom the City of Wilmington purchased approximately 64 acres in 2007 to develop Olsen Farms Park, believes that the City of Wilmington has violated the terms of the purchase agreement by failing to undertake development of the park in accordance with its terms and has retained a Wilmington law firm to explore its legal options.

“We’ve been asked to determine whether the City has breached the purchase agreement and what remedies exist for that breach,” said Gary K. Shipman of Shipman & Wright, LLP. The contract for the purchase and sale of the property was executed on March 26, 2007 and called for development of the Park in three phases. Phase One, which called for the construction of a baseball and softball complex with five fields, has been completed.

Pursuant to the purchase agreement, Phase Two required construction of multipurpose fields, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, passive park improvements and additional parking, with development of Phase Two to commence by July 1, 2011. “It appears that the City is more than a year behind on its obligations under the agreement, and to date, no satisfactory explanation has been given for the delay,” Shipman said.

To date, construction for Phase Two at the Park has not commenced. The principles of Olsen Farm of Wilmington, LLLP agreed to the sale of the park land with the express understanding that the Park would not just be a baseball and softball complex, and were assured that the park would be appropriate for all citizens of the County and the City with diverse interests. “My client is extremely disappointed that the City has not made completion of the Park a top priority, and we intend to make sure that the City honors its contractual obligations,” Shipman said.

Olsen Park is a joint City/County project funded by the Parks and Greenspace Bond. However, Shipman emphasized that the County’s participation does not lessen the obligations imposed upon the City by the provisions of the purchase agreement. “We don’t intend to get in the middle of the inevitable finger pointing that seems to go on between the City and the County; our agreement is with the City, and that’s who we intend to hold accountable,” Shipman said.

The City has recently announced plans to place a bond referendum on the ballot in November to fund a $37 million baseball stadium in the City, and Shipman said that this was particularly disturbing to his client. “We think that the City needs to fund and complete its current obligations before embarking on any others, and we’re hopeful that our discussions with the City over the coming weeks will refocus the priorities,” Shipman said.

Comment on this Story

  • Das Weibstück

    Thank you for bringing this up to the city !! We drove by there just a week ago and said “This isn’t a park, there is not 1 swing or slide”. Couldn’t believe it. The city of Wilmington’s priorities are a mess and Saffo is leading the clown parade.

  • 1981duke

    Was passed as a bond referendum for–
    Softball Tournaments
    Baseball Tournaments

    Sports tourism,a park is being to most likely be added.
    We have many parks for play,this was built for specific events to help build’sports tourism” as well as make Empie Park for tennis.

  • Guest-of-the-day

    city malfeasance in all things financial seems to be like peeling an onion back one layer at a time.

  • resident of Murrayville

    This park was built for baseball fields. Not once was a park environment mentioned. There are 2 parks already off of Harris Rd. Both of which have playgrounds for the kids! Utalize what we already have!

  • Das Weibstück

    If there are 2 parks off Harris I have never seen them. I go down that road almost everyday. Maybe I am missing them. In that case they are small community parks not county parks that are large enough for many people like Olsen Park.

    Either way Olsen Park was laid out before the money changed hands, there was an agreement for the park to be for ALL people not just the ball players. Its a legal contract. Mrs. Olsen deserves to have a complete park with her name on it.

  • Guest 123

    This is an interesting story and Olsen Farm of Wilmington, LLLP has made a valid point. Focus on City obligations before further extending debt service on the taxpayers. The parks bond referendum was supposed to be a dedicated, pre-planned, pot of money for a set menu of parks projects based on a seemingly scientific survey of residents paid for by the City and County in order to justify and sell the referendum to the voters. And that $37 million referendum was planned as a joint effort by the city and county with a clear dedication of funds to the pre-planned projects. Also, $200,000 to each of the three beach towns without dedication to pre-planned projects. If the City of Wilmington can’t meet their obligation to complete projects per that referendum, it calls into question their ability to meet any future baseball stadium referendum. Similar to someone who can’t pay their current bills, but wants to go to the bank to borrow even more money for a more expensive project.

  • SurfCityTom

    before taking on Mr. Shipman. He can be very effective and persuasive in court. The city attorney is no match for him.

    Maybe Duke, Mike & those other baseball park supporters will fund the legal expenses for the city.

  • 1981duke

    What makes you think Mr.Shipman has a case,gosh the City just gave ‘Miracle Field” on of the diamonds for the “disadvantaged”.

  • ChefnSurf

    Looks like city “leaders” just couldn’t find a way to have as much personal “skin” in the game with this park as they apparently do with the stadium ballpark.

  • 1981duke

    For phase one,two,three?
    I do not think most citizens aware of volleyball and tennis courts.

  • frontpaige

    Our city council is spending our tax dollars, during a recession, after just building a convention center that is bleeding red ink, on a super luxury baseball stadium. They just borrowed $41 million to fix roads.AND THEY WANT TO SPEND MORE ON A NON-ESSENTIAL, BOUND-TO-LOSE VENTURE! In my opinion, this is irresponsible, outrageous, and not to be tolerated.
    The stadium will cost the taxpayers much, much more than $37 million as many associated costs are just not mentioned. We will be financially responsible for this lemon for 20+ years.

  • SurfCityTom

    did you ever take reading comprehension? Where did I say Mr. Shipman has a case? I said he is very effective and persuasive in court. Most insurance companies think twice when they know Mr. Shipman is the plaintiff’s attorney.

    He will not go into court unprepared.

  • Fact Check

    Sorry Duke but you’re wrong, the City didn’t give the Miracle Field, the Kiwanis Clubs and another non-profit did.

  • 1981duke

    Gary is a true professional,yes but every story has an angle,point of contention.

  • SurfCityTom

    go back and re-read the article. They are in the discussion stage. During this time, Mr. Shipman will be gathering facts; doing research; and developing position options.

    If he advises his clients to kick it up a notch or 2 with legal action, the city should think twice. If they want to take it to court, they will need outside legal counsel; the city Attorney is no match.

    So again, I return to an earlier suggestion. Will you and your supporters be covering the legal expenses for the city and the ballpark developers? That’s an easy question to answer. Yes or No?


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