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City Council members question potential deal with Ripken Design

READ MORE: City Council members question potential deal with Ripken Design
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The City of Wilmington may strike out when it comes to selecting Ripken Design as the project manager for the proposed ballpark.

The project manager would evaluate the feasibility of building a baseball stadium. But a couple of council members have some serious questions.

Last week Wilmington City Manager Sterling Cheatham proposed the city hire Ripken Design to determine if a baseball stadium would be a home run or a strikeout. That was a surprise to Councilwoman Margaret Haynes.

"The staff has worked very hard, and I don't believe they had any intention of disrespecting the council," Haynes said. "I just think the way it sorta came down we should've been given the info, and then we as a body make a decision."

Councilman Kevin O'Grady says the Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball Properties also have some concerns.

"They had felt perhaps that the Ripken group was trying to bring a team here over their exclusive," O'Grady said at an agenda Monday morning. "What I heard today is quite the contrary."

Even so, O'Grady still has some questions about using Ripken Design, although he wouldn't go into detail as to what they are.

Haynes, however, is worried about the competitive nature between the Ripken group and the Braves/Mandalay.

"We all know in business you're not going to hire your direct competitor to analyze your own business," she said.

Haynes is not discounting the group, nor is she downplaying how important this decision is.

"This group is going to help us decide whether we're gonna move forward or not, and this is a huge commitment if we decide to go in that direction, and I, for one, have not decided whether I'm going to be or this or not," Haynes said.

Wilmington City Council will vote on a project manager at its meeting tomorrow night. If Ripken Design is not chosen, there are five other proposals council can consider.

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