make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

Two sides draw battle lines over stadium funding

READ MORE: Two sides draw battle lines over stadium funding

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- As the teams take the field it looks like a grudge match to the finish. Both are playing or campaigning for the attention of voters on the baseball funding issue.

Thursday the "Vote No Stadium Tax" group was up to bat.

"Even if I was in favor of putting tax money into it, it is just a bad deal," Jim Rafferty, the group's treasurer, said.

Wilmington City Council gave the "play ball" sign this week with an agreement with Mandalay Baseball Properties and the Atlanta Braves to build a stadium downtown. The agreement calls for taxpayers to cover the construction costs of $31 million through a 2.5-cent increase in property taxes. It's something the no tax group strongly opposes.

"Enough is enough. Come back to reality," urged former Wilmington Mayor Harper Peterson.

Then, there is the other side. The Wilmington Family Entertainment and Baseball Committee says it's about economic development and a source of civic pride. Of course they have some big league back-up.

"It's an opportunity for the Atlanta Braves and the City of Wilmington and Mandalay Baseball to come together at this time and build a ballpark," Braves General Manager Frank Wren told a partisan crowed Wednesday.

The Braves have an obvious interest in helping supporters of the bond referendum.

So who will win? It's too early to call, but you can be the judge it all comes down to the voting booth in November.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Civic Pride, Economic Development

Every time I see the Pro side mention "civic pride" as one of their motives, I have to wonder why they have no civic pride already?
I personally think Wilmington is a wonderful town, and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. A third rate baseball team certainly isn't going to cause my chest to swell with pride. Thousands of others evidently feel Wilmington is the best place for them, as well, as our population continues to grow by leaps and bounds. It puzzles me as to why these folks feel this is an issue. What's wrong with *their* sense of civic pride? Or maybe it isn't an issue, but only a strawman they try to use to support what is clearly a weak argument.

Economic development? I'm not really sure how losing any potential property tax income on 8 acres of riverfront property is economic development. I also don't see how incurring 50-60 million dollars in debt for a 10 million dollar return is economic development. It would be a much more sensible approach to find an investment group who would be willing to put in some sort of shopping and entertainment complex there, give them plenty of tax incentives and let them build it, maintain it, and pay taxes on it.

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

will prevail.

The Vocal elite, Dukie & Mr.T, have ventured so far from the truthful path with their distortions and grandiose misstatements.

Justice will prevail for the property owning tax payers in the city.

The American Way will be just across the river @ the Ripken Group site.

And guess what. Ripken's Group does not have such an inflated ego they would oppose the Mandalanta group using their ballpark for baseball.

So Mandalanta can still have their team in the Wilmington market.

Why do the baseball proponents have such a challenge with this? They would still get to watch baseball.

But then, the owner of that over priced river front acreage would still have his albatross to feed. Maybe he could build elevated bleachers on it and sell tickets to everyone who wants to watch baseball with binoculars.


something intelligent flows from you wrinkled finger tips. Now why don't you and the other echos get busy and wrap up a firm commitment from every party associated with the Ripken plan and put your signed contract beside the cities so we can make an informed decision. Oh but there is one little problem. You nor anyone else has anything more than a meeting that may have occured? Wasn't attended by any other County member. And last but not least outlines no specifics what so ever. You guys are brilliant, I'm having a great time with this!! Just vote Yes folks...
Let's Play Ball in Downtown, on the River Front

T-ball doesn't get it 'cause T-ball just doesn't want to

Having a great time T-ball? I think not. The only people who say stuff like that are the ones who're actually not having a great time. Not only is the pro faction getting crushed by the facts against a taxpayer funded stadium, you're also personally stuck with having to live with yourself. That's two strikes. The third strike will come on referendum day.

We already know that you are totally aware of why side-by-side contracts can't be put up. Obviously, the only reason you brought it up is to misdirect others. It's not working.

The only issue on the table is TAXPAYER FUNDING for a stadium. Nothing else. Let me repeat that. Nothing else. The Ripken issue is just another example of how city council didn't do the due diligence it should have done. I know that's hard to accept, but that's the ONLY issue on the table. Try sticking with the program.

Switching gears, let me ask you, as so many others have already done, what were the results of the Public Policy Polling poll? Everyone knows you know what the results were. Why do you refuse to tell us? Let me repeat that a little louder. WHY DO YOU REFUSE TO DISCLOSE THE RESULTS? The ball's now in your court. Either disclose the results or admit by your silence that the results indicated an overwhemingly anti-taxpayer funded perspective.

On 7/21/2012 you responded to one of my posts by stating ". The fact chef, is that I am just a lot smarter than you and much more experienced in the area of economic development."

Now's the time to prove it. Show us with proven economics that this will be a success. Prove to us that there's a viable revenue stream. Man up, and answer the question you refuse to answer about the poll.

Your alternative is to just continue with infantile name calling and simplistic platitudes like "just believe us" instead of addressing any issues. Be aware though; if that is all you choose to continue to do, EVERYONE in this town will be aware of it and EVERYONE will know that your pro position holds no merit. How could it possibly be meritable when even the pro-stadium leaders have nothing positive to say?


It's finally come to me

why you are pushing this piece of river front acreage down the city's throats.

You must be the one who made the toxic loan which the lender is about to foreclose on.

Are you hoping to get back in the banking industry?

Was it hard standing at the podium? I guess you controlled access to the meeting in order to avoid tomatoes.

OF course "T"

If you had half a brain you'd know why that hasn't happened now wouldn't you?
You said yesterday no discussion had taken place.
Yet I posted a link to an article in WWAY news archives that said taht they did discuss it
How does it fel to be proved wrong time,and time and time again?

So go ahead - tell us why the discussions have not been official?
You know the answer
Go ahead

Now another question
Where the PPP results?
We're waiting to see how much overwhelming support this initiative has.
So - wheres the results?


MR. T, You said "Let's Play Ball in Downtown, on the River Front." This explains why your side is desperate to continue this con game. You do not care about anything else but having this stadium built downtown on highly polluted property. How about your side presenting the facts on the property before the election? How polluted is it and how much to clean it up?

You know because of MLB rules that Ripken can not present his plan until the cities contract with Mandalay expires. If Mandalay would be willing to give Ripken a waiver, I'm sure you can see the deal. I am also sure all the tax payers would like to see it also. You hide behind the rules that prevent the deal from being presented to claim it doesn't exist. How convenient for all you you that are so self serving. Are you really Terry Spencer? Are you too ashamed to sign your name anymore? Your "it's not about baseball rant" is still cause for major laughter.....

Maybe the people with common sense should no longer respond to your lies anymore. Maybe we should just file a lawsuit in federal court charging that Mandalay is in violation of monopoly laws. MLB can have their rule that only one group can negotiate with an area if they are funding their own stadiums. When they require the tax payers to pay for the stadium, The tax payers should be able to listen to all offers and accept the best deal. Maybe this is what we should do instead of listening to an add campaign full of lies and distortions geared to fooling the tax payers into spending 58 million dollars and counting.......

Prospective Baseball Site listed by DENR as Brownfield site

From the NC Dept of Environment and Natural Resources report on Brownfields Property Reuse Act: "Brownfields are abandoned, idled or underused properties where environmental contamination hinders redevelopment due to concerns about environmental liability." Further in the progress report it lists the Almont Shipping site AKA The Wilmington Multi-use Stadium and Family Entertainment Complex as follows: "Contamination at the property resulted from the storage of numerous commodities on the site. Part of the southern part of the former shipping terminal site was also used for bulk petroleum storage between 1893 and 1898."

A separate NCDENR report lists a 2.2 million gallon diesel fuel spill in 1982 at this location that PPD fortunately didn't have to contend with because as that report stated, "[it] showed it not to be a problem at this mostly side-gradient property." Isn't our "Family Entertainment Complex" downhill from the PPD site? Does this mean there is a likely chance spillage collected there? Please show me a soil analysis so we can understand fully what our liability may be.

Ms. Padgett is onto the real problem. The city has only budgeted $6 million for purchase and remediation of this site. Schoninger has already stated $6 million is his bottom line. This leaves no room for mitigation of contaminants and it's looking increasingly likely that it's not a matter of if but when they find contamination. The MOU clearly states those costs fall to the city and we have no assurances from the city or the seller what those costs may be.

You wouldn't buy a home without a termite inspection, the bank wouldn't let you.

Vote No on this referendum. There are too many liabilities.

Diesel should be the least of your concerns.... least it's not horribly toxic compared with what might be in the ground. When that ground is dug up, who knows what will be found, and the City will be the one paying for it.

They are currently digging the area along the dock up at this site. They have equipment to separate the wood, and who knows what else from the "soil" along with whatever goodies are in the groundwater. Most of the poles were Coal Tar creosote treated, and some are CCA (chromium, copper and arsenic) treated.

Those are the things that are visible. There's been all kinds of things stored, made, and spilled there. Why they are able to simply dig and dump with the current construction when there was all the controversy when a little water showed up in the basement of the building there is anyone's guess. The whole area there stinks terribly from whatever is in the ground.

Just try to find out who actually owns the property. Maybe that has something to do with why the ballfield HAS TO be there.


So we have diesel fuel on the site, and Almont stored bulk fertilizer components on the site. Isn't that what they made the Oklahoma City bomb out of? A perfect place to take the family! I look forward to their fireworks display.


Got a link to that information?


Here's the link:

And, there is Arsenic in the groundwater at the site. They even talk about the fact that the water cannot be pumped into the river because of contamination. Is the contamination now magically gone?

More history:

Sources cited

2011 report to the NC legislature on Brownfields developments:

"Success stories" for Brownfields development which cites the previous spill and history of Almont Shipping/PPD site: