WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Wilmington voters, the ball’s in your court.
Voting ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a bond referendum in November will determine whether professional baseball will find a home in the Port City.
Even though the City of Wilmington has reached an agreement with the Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball Properties, voters must pass a bond referendum before financing a stadium can come to pass. During a news conference, supporters of the referendum kicked off their ‘Vote Yes’ campaign.
“We’ve got to be effective in communicating the message that this is really more than baseball,” said Terry Spencer, Vote Yes Campaign Manager. “This is about making Wilmington a better place to live, work and play. It’s about economic development, it’s a source of civic pride.”
Frank Wren, the general manager of the Atlanta Braves, called Wilmington a dynamic city that’s a perfect fit for the Braves’ franchise.
“It’s an opportunity for the Atlanta Braves, the City of Wilmington and Mandalay Baseball to come together at this time and build a ballpark this is one of those fleeting moments,” Wren said. “If it doesn’t happen now, it likely won’t happen.”
But as this campaign fires up, so does the opposition. The “Vote No Stadium Tax” group is swinging back with its own campagin. It considers the stadium a waste of taxpayer’s money.
“It’s a business. The government doesn’t have any business in business,” says Scott Harry, leader of the ‘Vote No Stadium Tax’ group.
Wednesday night, the “Vote No Stadium Tax” group held an organizational meeting to rally support and discuss ways to get their message across to voters.
“I think our battle is more to educate the public than anything,” Harry says. “Once they learn the facts, and fortunately we have the facts on our side. Once they learn the facts, they’re going to vote no.”
The group will be holding a news conference Thursday at 3 p.m. on the steps of the Wilmington Convention Center.