at the end of the day, the Major League team is focused on making a profit or at the least breaking even. Their focus is on developing poorly paid players to a major league level or determining they do not have the skills and sending them on their way.
Look slightly north to Richmond. The Richmond Braves (AAA affiliate for Atlanta)played in Parker Field. It was a good location. The AA and A league franchises both played in the Norfolk area; players went up and down I-64 pretty frequently based on skill levels.
They had some great players go through -- Chipper Jones and Deon Sanders to name 2.
Then it was determined Parker Field must go due to age and condition.
Richmond business leaders banded together; sought and obtained private funding, and built "The Diamond". Not one cent of public money was required.
The season ended; demolition of Parker Field commenced the very next day; and the following opening day was held in "The Diamond".
Don't let them sell you on this location with an associated property tax increase.
They are focused on the most expensive piece of real estate in Wilmington for a construction site.
There are other, less expensive pieces of land available for a site.
This site will not be an inexpensive site for family outings. They have not talked about that.
Are we looking at $10 tickets? $5.00 beer? $4.00 Hot Dogs and peanuts? Maybe $5 or $10 to park your car?
The developer, and Mr. Hinnant, both note this will be a big boon for the area restaurants and hotels? How?
Do the math, a family of 4 is probably going to drop $100 for a one day outing at the ballpark. That may be an underestimate; you have to remember jerseys and souveniers.
Are they honestly expecting folks to believe boat owners will motor up and moor at the marina so they can attend the ball game?
Will folks honestly dine at Ruth's Chris or some over priced waterfront restaurant before attending a game?
If they honestly believe that, then they should be proposing some type of sales and use tax on restaurants, the hotel and the marina to help fund construction.
Let them put that proposal on the table and see how long existing restaurant owners will stand quietly by.
And as Mr. Wuzzardo notes, the ball team will be competing against the beaches and other area attractions.
The Sharks do rather well with attendance and expense control.
Build a big stadium, on the water, and what happens after the novelty wears off or the team fails to have a winning season? Remember, their goal is to develop players for promotion to the upper leagues; a winning season is secondary. The manager is judged primarily by his success in developing player talent; not winning a minor league title.
This could well be an albatross around the city's already strained finances.
Don't let the glitter, smoke, and mirrors blind you from looking realistically at this.
Make them do a complete study of the numbers and impact. Don't just accept a developer's promises. We've seen enough of those go down the commode over the past few years.
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