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Wilmington leaders tour Durham ballpark

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wilmington leaders are doing their homework when it comes to building a ballpark downtown. Today, city council members and other local leaders toured the home of the Durham Bulls.

"This was a pretty desolate area during the 70's and it's very vibrant today and you can't even find a parking space down here," Mayor Bill Saffo said.

Durham leaders say their city-owned stadium has been a home run. Taxpayers pumped nearly $20 million in COP bonds toward building Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The park is city owned. City officials say since it opened in 1994, it has revitalized the Durham area.

"It was very controversial when it happened. now you can't find anyone who says they were against it," said George Habel with Capital Broadcasting Company.

"It turned out to be a very good risk. if we had to do it over again, there's no question it would be done," said Durham Mayor William Bell. "We had a lot of nay sayers but you don't find those nay sayers now. everybody's talking about the good things that are happening as a result of it."

Some of those good things include nearly 3 million square feet of office space, most of which is leased, as well as a thousand residential units.

Wilmington city leaders say this could be the facelift the Port City needs, but there is still more work to be done.

"We're charged with getting out here and getting all the facts, getting all the information, and making certain that we understand all the financing mechanisms in place to do this," Mayor Saffo said.

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