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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to approve the agreement with the Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball to build a baseball stadium in Wilmington. However, the approval did not get passed without a few reservations.

Laura Padgett was the only council member to vote against the agreement. She said that if in November taxpayers approve the deal, she will do everything she can to make sure the ballpark gets built.

In an explanation, Padgett listed her reasons why, which included concerns about mitigation costs on the land purchase and a lack of support for teams who are already here.

“I continue to have a concern that we have two functioning baseball teams, and they are not drawing huge crowds,” she said.

Councilman Kevin O’Grady, though a huge proponent and key negotiator for the city, agrees that there are risks.

“We have a real opportunity here,” O’Grady said. “It’s not without risk, but it has a lot of reward. I mean, we know the risks. There are deal issues. What if the land can’t be acquired? What if the debt isn’t approved? What if the team isn’t available?”

The city’s agreement calls for taxpayers to cover the construction costs of $31 million through a 2.5-cent increase in property taxes. The agreement also calls for $6 million to acquire the land where the ballpark will be built, which would be paid back to the city through rent payments from Mandalay and the Braves.

However, in the end, nothing is certain without a final vote in November.

“And now it’s up to you,” O’Grady said to Wilmington residents. “Tell us whether you want to do it.”

Also at Tuesday night’s council meeting, members voted 6-1 in favor of annexing and rezoning a nearly 10-acre plot of land in the 6000 block of Gordon Road to build an 84-unit town home complex.

A public hearing was held before the vote, and the main concern for residents was traffic.

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48 Comments on "City council votes to pass ballpark agreement with Braves, Mandalay"

2015 years 10 months ago

I don’t believe a reasonable person would equate providing emergency services, which save property and lives, to building a ball field where grown men play a pointless game.

And, when the truck is in another county…well, we do have more than one, I hope? If not, it’s because the city says they don’t have money to buy any more. But, of course, they do believe they have money to build a playground for overgrown children.

2015 years 10 months ago

Ever heard of Mutual Aid? When a neighboring city sends fire trucks to help out? You know that works in reverse? We get help from THEM if our truck are tied up (Like they were for the forest fire on 17th st recently)
You do know that Region 5 HazMat is stationed in station 5 at Flint and Wellington? That team would respond anywhere in a 5 county area? They would even support Fayetteville HazMat if needed. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m against the routine dispatching of our fire trucks to Pender or Brunswick counties but before we condemn this action, lets see what its all about.

As for workers comp?
The city is self insured which means yes taxpayers pay for comp. If they weren’t self insured, taxpayer dollars would pay for workers comp premiums. A LOT of cities and state government agencies are self insured. Please point out where this is costing the city excess funds.


2015 years 10 months ago

It would be nice if Wilmington residents, who live in the unincorporated area, but own property in the city, were also allowed to vote on this bond referendum. My vote would be: NO!

2015 years 10 months ago

Unfortunately for you, and completely by your own choice, you have painted yourself into a corner of complete irrelevance. The really ironic part of all this is that you’ve done this using a bucket of your own words as your media of choice.

Without getting into all of your prepubescant name calling, quoting from one of your recent posts as of 9/14/2012: “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.” Everyone, including Mandalay, acknowledges the numbers in the NSS report are way off the mark. It has also become public knowledge that other opportunities were available to council, such as Ripken, that were ignored. Everyone knows this, yet you continue to say everything’s been handled in a “professional” manner.

Your own statements have proven to be contrary to reality. Combine that with your self described persona of being a marketing god among peons and you’ll find very few Wilmingtonians willing to continue to follow your blather. It just wouldn’t make logical sense to do so.

At this point, the best contribution you could possibly make to the pro-stadium cabal is to remain completely silent. The brush strokes of your own arrogance have resulted in you painting yourself into a corner of irrelevance for your own cause.

A totally unnecessary thing to have done to yourself and your cause and truly pathetic.

2015 years 10 months ago

Time to put up or shut up, fish or cut bait, do or die!!! The cards are on the table, Atlanta has made the most serious commitment to Minor League Baseball that they have ever made to any host City in America. If we want real Professional Baseball in the Port City we need to work and work hard. If you want real Family Entertainment in Downtown VOTE YES


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