Wilmington releases details of tentative ballpark plan
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Atlanta Braves, Mandalay Baseball Properties and the City of Wilmington have reached a tentative ballpark agreement. The city says the cost of the ballpark will not exceed $31 million and would be paid for by a 2.5-cent property tax increase.

A news release says the Braves have committed to put a minor league team in the Port City for at least 20 years and pay the highest rent in the Carolina League. Ownership expects the team will bring approximately 25 full time jobs and 350 seasonal jobs.

Click here to see the proposed Memorandum of Understanding

"We continue to believe a multi-use facility and an affiliate of the Atlanta Braves will be a tremendous boost to the City of Wilmington," Atlanta Braves Executive Vice President of Business Operations Mike Plant said in a statement. "As people take time to review this proposal, they will see the value of the Atlanta Braves' commitment to becoming part of the Wilmington community for decades to come."

City Council is expected to vote on the plan at its meeting Tuesday. Voters will decide on a bond referendum for the stadium November 6.

This evening, the city released some of the details of the plan for the ballpark:
-A 6,200-seat ballpark to be located on at least seven acres of downtown riverfront property that could also include a 1.5-acre city park
-Ballpark construction costs would not exceed $31 million, funded by a 2.5-cent property tax increase
-20-year commitment by the Braves
-Anticipated cost of $6 million for land acquisition/remediation; this money would be paid back to the city from the Braves/Mandalay with annual rent and management fees
-Target date for completion would be April 2014 or April 2015, depending on final design
-Braves/Mandalay would be responsible for ballpark’s operating expenses and in exchange would receive all revenues
-Annual management/rent fee payments of $500,000 from the Braves/Mandalay for 20 years
-Another club, such as a university team, could use the ballpark as its home stadium if agreements can be reached
-Project contingent upon:
·Passage of voter referendum
·City acquiring the site and able to build the ballpark for $31 million
·Team purchasing the minor league club in Lynchburg, VA, moving it here and being approved by Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball and the Carolina League

The full agreement and City Council agenda materials will be posted on the city's website by noon on Friday

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The future is in our control,vote "YES" for the stadium,single-A Braves and Mandalay,Invest in us!

You, T, Wilmington silly council and downtown businesses are solely in this project because in one way or another you have something personally to gain. You care exactly zero percentage about anyone other than yourselves. Your actions have made that more than obvious!

Invest in you? You have so little capacity for shame you can't even comprehend how insulting that is to everyone else.

After you are CRUSHED in the referendum, it might be a good time to investigate any potential malfeasance by your little cabal of thieves.

YOU WANT IT SO BAD THIEVES YOU PAY FOR IT, STAY OUT OF MY DAMN POCKET DIG IN TO THAT SO CALLED MONEY HOG BILL SAFFO AND HIS TEAM OF PUPPETS
TO BUILD YOUR STADIUM OR TAKE YOUR DUMB IDEA BACK TO WHERE EVER YOU COME FROM AND GET OUT OF OUR TOWN AND STAY OUT.

NO BASEBALL, NO BILL SAFFO AND TEAM PUPPETS IN NOVEMBER
NO BASEBALL, NO BILL SAFFO AND TEAM PUPPYS IN NOVEMBER
NO BASEBALL, NO BILL SAFFO AND TEAM PUPPETS IN NOVEMBER

YOU WANT IT SO BAD THIEVES YOU PAY FOR IT, STAY OUT OF MY DAMN POCKET DIG IN TO THAT SO CALLED MONEY HOG BILL SAFFO AND HIS TEAM OF PUPPETS
TO BUILD YOUR STADIUM OR TAKE YOUR DUMB IDEA BACK TO WHERE EVER YOU COME FROM AND GET OUT OF OUR TOWN AND STAY OUT.

NO BASEBALL, NO BILL SAFFO AND TEAM PUPPETS IN NOVEMBER
NO BASEBALL, NO BILL SAFFO AND TEAM PUPPYS IN NOVEMBER
NO BASEBALL, NO BILL SAFFO AND TEAM PUPPETS IN NOVEMBER

That is correct property owners of Wilmington, time to vote no on baseball and vote these self-serving "leaders" out.

I'm SO excited! Good work, Wilmington! PROGRESS!!!

The city of Wilmington deserves praise for the approach taken in developing the plan to bring minor league baseball to the city. This study has been handled in a very professional manner. The time is now to show the citizens the value projected to the city and it's residence.
This is a difficult task as those opposed, generally oppose any progress and don't care if their effort only leads to self humiliation. The city would be wise to expose to the voters the projected revenue stream for the stadium. It is the citizens right to make their decision based on both cost and return. Hopefully the city will produce a valuable business plan that will shut some of the clown activity down, but, if the city can't accomplish this, those who favor baseball should lose.

Mr. T wrote, " This is a difficult task as those opposed, generally oppose any progress and don't care if their effort only leads to self humiliation. The city would be wise to expose to the voters the projected revenue stream for the stadium. It is the citizens right to make their decision based on both cost and return. Hopefully the city will produce a valuable business plan that will shut some of the clown activity down, but, if the city can't accomplish this, those who favor baseball should lose."

The key words in your statement is "projected revenue stream" and "clown activity." Between what you, Chuck Kuebler, and Terry Spencer, have claimed, your clown activity can not be surpassed! Here's the deal genius: You claim the tax payers need to vote themselves a tax increase to fund a baseball stadium. The total cost will be over 58 million dollars. The people with brains, the ones you claim oppose any progress, want to let Ripken build the stadium with private investors. What part of free do you oppose? With this option available, why do you still want the tax payers to fund the stadium? One last question, Why do you feel it is right and fair for a billionaire to get a tax payer funded building to do business in? He gets to rent it for a fraction of the costs and competes directly with other businesses that do not get the same subsidizes. Sports bars and restaurants will lose business to the stadium. The revenue streams go directly to Mandalay, the Braves, and their billionaire owner. They get the profits and the tax payers get the bill. Your position on this issue makes you the "CLOWN."

its such a CASH COW of an idea...where are the private investors lined up at!? OH..they aren't!

Mandalay is investing 10 million plus buying a present team,and relocating everyone to our City.
They are investing more in Wilmington.

No one is being relocated. The full time employees here in Lynchburg will be unemployed if the francise moves.
If they really think 31 million will buy a modern statium I suggest they look at what it cost Winston-Salem. (right around 62 million)
I also question the dates on the MOU. They all state signing on September 2012 and at the lastest October 31, 2012. Hummmmm interesting as the referendum is not scheduled to be voted on until November 6 2012.
So if everything is signed and the people vote NO then what??

Fellini123

I am opposed to the taxpayer funded stadium and the proponents on one hand say "more jobs for us" on the other hand "Mandalay is relocating everyone". They can't have it both ways. It's rather illogical to think that the people with strong local ties in Lynchburg are just going to up and move with the team. We have a report that 115-135 full-time jobs will be created, but the agreement only include 25. And there will be 350 seasonal jobs. What do those 350 people do for the other six months? It struck me as underhanded at first reading about them approving it before the election, but the agreement is contingent upon the bond referendum passing. What remains to be seen is whether or not the council adheres to that or if they remove that contingency. It wouldn't surprise me if they build it anyway. They did that with the convention center. They don't care what they do to the taxpayers.

If you are truly from Lynchburg I am sorry.
The good news if there is any for you, is that ANLBC will reimburse your city for the remaining costs/loans associated with the 2004 upgrade to Calvin Falwell field.
They will also replace the Hillcats - however they ADMIT that it won't be a single A ball club. It is rumored it will be a Rookie league team which is one step above high school ball.

The greatest news is that public opinion in Wilmington is very much against this stadium in spite of what supporters say. You see the polls were conducted as part of the study by NSS for our city government.
Already ANLBC press releases have trashed this report for
#Jobs created by the stadium
Potential naming rights monies for the CITY.
Costs
etc etc etc
Because of these discrepancies the quality of he entire report is now in question and that includes the supposed "surveys showing support".

The vote is in November, but I suspect you'll be enjoying MiLB ball for quite some time to come
Vog

HOW MUCH are we loosing again compared to their "investment"

PLEASE CREATE SOME JOBS! PEOPLE ARE NOT LOOKING AT THE WHOLE LONG TERM EFFECTS FROM THIS BALL PARK. THIS WILL BRING MONEY INTO THE TOWN ADN JOBS. MOST IMPORTANT IT WILL BRING FAMILY TIME FOR FAMILYS. FAMILYS NEED SPORTS, EVERY KIDS GROWS UP PLAYING BALL AND DREAMING OF BEING ON A BIG TEAM. EVERY LITTLE BOY IN WILMINGTON WILL WANT TO SPEND A DAY WITH HIS FAMILY WATCHING A BALL GAME.

STOP LOOKING TODAY AND LOOK AT THE FUTURE FOR OUR CHILDREN. THIS IS A GOOD THING AND GROWTH IS NEVER A BAD THING.

TAKE SOME BARS FROM DOWNTOWN AND PUT IN A BALL PARK..... YEAH VOTE NO AND HAVE YOUR KIDS IN THE BARS WHEN THEY GROW UP INSTEAD.

That is sooooooo dumb if you had a minimum of at least half a brain, you would be twins.

Did you post this after spending the day in a bar? Using your logic that would have to be true because as of now there's no stadium.

Number One, they aren't tearing down any bars. Where do you people come up with this stuff? This is going way the heck up at the north end of downtown, where Almont Shipping used to be. There are not and have never been any bars there, just mountains of toxic chemicals. But, hey, if you want to let your kids play in a toxic dump, well, that's all on you. Maybe they can hand out hazmat suits at the park.

Two, they have already said, dozens of times, that this will create 25 FULL TIME JOBS. 350 part time, seasonal jobs (translation: summer jobs for college kids). I don't know what you - or the council - think is going to suddenly spring up down there. Disneyland? Downtown Wilmington IS NOT FAMILY ORIENTED. That ain't their vibe. They are bars and non-kid friendly restaurants and antique shops and used book stores. It is not and never will be a place to take the kids for a fun day out.

Number Three, speaking of not looking at the future, you clearly either haven't read this ridiculous agreement or you just don't understand what it says. THERE IS NOTHING FOR WILMINGTON HERE!! Everything, every penny, every benefit, goes to Mandalay and Atlanta. All we're getting is screwed. We are responsible for capital maintainance, and they plan on BORROWING MORE MONEY TO FUND IT.
We have to give Mandalay $2.9 million of the $31 million so they can go buy FURNITURE, so now we have to build the stadium with $28.1 million, but of course we're still on the hook for all of it.
Wilmington gets ZERO REVENUE. Braves/Mandalay keep every penny they bring in.
The City can hold City sponsored events there BUT THEY ARE LIMITED TO A TOTAL OF 10 DAYS A YEAR. 10 IN A WHOLE YEAR! And THEY HAVE TO PAY TO USE IT! Wow, what a great deal!! We get to use our own stadium 10 days a year and we get to pay to do it!
What, oh what was the city negotiating on all this time? Was it really just to get that free box suite for the mayor?

But from where? Residents of the City and immediately surrounding areas are not going to show up in sufficient numbers consistently to to see a team that probably isn't much better - if at all - than the Sharks or UNCW baseball, for that matter). Neither existing facility is consistently full, and the price to be paid is much lower than what the entry fee on this will be. No parking fees to be paid to yet another - probably the same - monopoly, either.

Funny that the toxic waste dump was mentioned. Just look along the river at that site now. They are digging all sorts of stuff out of the ground like wood (nice arsenic and coal tar treated poles), who knows what liquids, and who knows what else. Big piles of "stuff" and the liquid just gets to run off into the river. The whole area stinks depending on the direction of the wind. The entire site is still listed as a brownfield, but no one is enforcing any kind of rules about what's coming out of the ground.

The proposed ballfield will sit on ground that hasn't yet been dug, so who knows what goodies will be found there. Delay in construction due to hazardous waste? Who cares... The city will have to deal with, and pay for it!

"We have to give Mandalay $2.9 million of the $31 million so they can go buy FURNITURE, so now we have to build the stadium with $28.1 million, but of course we're still on the hook for all of it."

$2.9 million dollars for furniture? I would like to see an itemized list of what was bought and the cost per item. Without this accounting, I believe a lot of this money just disappears. This deal just gets worse and worse. If this deal gets approved, there will be millions of dollars that do not get used for anything other than to line peoples pockets. If anyone cares to dispute this, demand an audit down to the penny on the money used to construct and equip the Convention Center. The old saying "When the fox is in charge of the hen house, he will have chicken dinner every single day" comes to mind.

Why is it when private money is used to build these stadiums they cost 10 to 15 million dollars less than when public money is used? The cost overruns are a lot less also.

There are people waiting in the wings to build this area a stadium using private money. All we have to do is vote against this con.

The owner of the Braves is worth 5.1 billion dollars. He should quit asking for handouts from tax payers. Enough is enough. There is no logical reason to use tax payer money to fund a project that benefits Mandalay, the Braves, and their owner. They get the profits and the tax payers get the bill.........

you were looking to the future...you would see an empty stadium that WILMINGTON taxpayers footed the bill for...and that isn't being used because its out of date and the team left...leaving us with about 40 million in debt along with the operating costs tacked on!

As long as we have so called leaders like Saffo in the City and catlin in the County - we will get treats like the wasteful convention center and a ball park we so "desparately" need so these folks and their friends help themselves at our expense. Vote against the ball park bond and by all means lets send little ricky to raleigh-better there than his polluting wilmington.

As a Wilmington resident, if I'm going to pay for this stadium I would except to receive two seats along the home team baseline for the next 20 years AT NO COST.

Way to go need more like you.

Yeah thats real smart lets give out seats to residents so that we get no return on the investment

Don't the "owners" of other stadiums have fancy seats? You can bet that Saffo, and the rest of the bunch won't be paying to get in. Wait.... They probably won't even be bothered to show up after the ribbon cutting. By the time this thing would open, Saffo - hopefully! - won't even be the Mayor.

If property owners will be forced to pay for it, why shouldn't we get something in return? It is funny you think there will actually be a return on this white elephant. You probably think the convention center is a good deal also.

The only return on investment that taxpayers would get is if they had season tickets for the next twenty years. If you think that is going to profit anyone other than the politicians taking kickbacks, the developer who builds it, the man selling the propery and Mandalay, then you are quite delusional.

Just try to find out who really owns the property. "Riverfront Holdings II".... great name. And it's just that. A holding company owned by ?????? Anyone out there know how to figure out just who is behind it?

The Braves are trying to get us to issue municipal debt (for which Wilmington taxpayers will be responsible) to finance their stadium. This is a national scam, as outlined in this recent Bloomberg article:

In Stadium Building Spree, U.S. Taxpayers Lose $4 Billion
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-05/in-stadium-building-spree-u-s-t...

“You come back to this thin line of, ‘What is a legitimate municipal government undertaking?’” Packwood said. While he draws the line at sports venues, he said too many voters and local politicians don’t. “If the owner can get away with the public putting up part of the money, he’s going to do it.”

Since the city will acquire the property, that means NO property taxes, right? From every angle, this is a taxpayer RIPOFF.
"If you build it, they will come" is a line from a baseball fantasy film.

And if there was ever a fantasy in Wilmington, this stadium is it.