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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — We’ve heard a lot lately from those against building a tax-funded ballpark in the Port City, but not much from those who support it. Thursday, we asked them why they have been MIA.

At Wilmington City Council meetings, there are always at least two or three people who speak out against the stadium, but not many have come forward to rally support.

Jim Hundley, the spokesperson for the Wilmington Ballpark Coalition, says he hopes to start more of a grass roots campaign to support their effort and City Council’s push to move the project forward.

“We’ve not been speaking publicly about it. We’ve been working kind of behind the scenes with the business community and the people that support it,” Hundley said. “It’s going to take a lot of people to get this done, but we still remain optimistic and think it’s a good deal for the city.”

John Hinnant, the executive director of Wilmington Downtown Inc., says both those for and against the stadium will make a more prominent stance once more facts come out.

“What is this whole package going to look like? How much is it going to cost? What’s the site going to be?” Hinnant said. “Now that some of the details are starting to get finalized, until we know all the details, it’s hard to advocate for something you don’t know about. I think they’re taking a more strategic approach in the sense that it’s better to have the details and better to have the information. It’s better to have the city work through the process.”

WWAY also spoke with Chris Fernandez, the founder of Portcitybaseball.com. He says they are still here and still talking with people and businesses to get on board in supporting a stadium.


Comment on this Story

  • Vog46

    I posted this on the Star news forums

    Carolina league. The names of the teams and the major league parent team may change but these teams and their cities have a long history:
    Team…………………………….year founded…total years
    Carolina Mudcats…………..1978……………….34years
    Fredrick Keys………………….1989………………..23 years
    Lynchburg Hillcats…………..1963………….49 years
    M Beach Pelicans……………1998………………..14 years
    Potomac Nationals………….1978…………………34 years
    Salem Red Sox…………………1968………………..…44 years
    Wilmington Blue Rocks…1993……………19 years
    Winston Salem Dash……….1945……………….67 years
    These teams and their host cities have a long history. League average? 35 years. We have 3 years and two teams worth of failures. There is no evidence to suggest we are a baseball city.
    Best Regards

  • Guest2020

    Then you will have a situation like the convention center. The council negotiated and signed a contract knowing that the people were against it. And then claimed that since they had signed the contract they were obligated to go through with it. They did this after the public voted against it. Now you want to let them negotiate and sign a contract then get voter approval. It just won’t fly and that is not the proper way to do it. If there is such a time constraint, then they should consider holding a special election to determine the voter opinion. You would be shelling out taxpayer money for it, but it would save money in the long run.

  • 1981duke

    much smaller market,continue to scare-em VOG as this fall plenty of time to debate so burn all your “scare tactics’ now while WWAY supports your tunnel vision.

  • 1981duke

    You get one vote,use it wisely.

  • Vog46

    Supporters say Wilmington is a baseball town. In spite of a failed AA level team and a failed A level team. Here’s how other Carolina League teams have faired staying put…….
    Team………………..year founded….in existence
    Carolina Mudcats……….1978……………34 years
    Fredrick Keys………….1989……………23 years
    Lynchburg Hillcats……..1963……………49 years
    M Beach Pelicans……….1998……………14 years
    Potomac Nationals………1978……………34 years
    Salem Red Sox………….1968……………44 years
    Wilington (Del) Blue Rocks1993……………19 years
    W/Salem Dash…………..1945……………67 years

    /A lot of these teams changed their affiliations over the years or were bought and sold – but they were established. The major league teams could look at Lynchburg and say “baseball is pretty popular there we can build a stadium and make it work”
    In other cases (like Winston Salem) the team played at a college field first and out grew that field but in most of the case these teams were located near large population areas. Potomac is near DC, Fredrick is near Alexandria VA and Washigton, Carolina Mudcats – Zebulon/Raleigh.
    They played, they got established, then they got good stadiums.
    We seem to be putting the cart before the horse. WE are building the Taj Mahal in the hopes it will be filled. Yet, the team we’re getting is very disappointing in the attendance figures. Our history with Mil-A ball says we don’t support that level of play.
    But the proponents want to charge ahead in spite of our history. Its kinda like doing test marketing. After two attempts once has to wonder if the product is worth the effort.
    Of course what we’re offering here is to pay for the test marketing in spite of our past failures. The chances are we’ll fail again – only this time we’ll be on the hook for up to $42M and you know what? After 3 failed attempts how many other teams will look at us? NONE !
    So why build it? Its not like a hotel. A hotel fails – the building is still there – another chain could come in and take over, or it could be renovated for other businesses. A stadium is a basically a single purpose building for sport and other outdoor events. It would have to be demolished and entirely rebuilt to suit a new business.
    History says established teams do well with new stadiums
    History says we don’t support minor league baseball
    And although Terry and Chuck would like to do it – you can’t change history…..

    Best Regards

  • Vog46

    I have been reading the “lovefest” between Chuck and Terry on the SNO facebook forum. Watching the two of them gang up on anyone anti baseball is fun to watch.
    As for the supporters and where they’ve been this article is correct in that they are waiting to see what the final proposal is before commenting.
    This should tell you something. It tells you that they are not convinced by NSS/Mandalay that in fact baseball is GOOD for the city, otherwise they’d have been “out” already, touting the team and stadium. The same goes for the chamber meeting. It was contentious because they’re not all convinced and they are wondering why the numbers aren’t hard yet.
    This is interesting to watch. Downtown businesses themselves are torn on this. The bars see the stadium selling beer as an infringement on their business. The Cotton Exchange closes its retail operations at 530 most nights. Heck even Paddy’s Hollow is closed at 900 or 930 (too late for an after a night game drink).
    I don’t “see it” – I don’t see the economic impact numbers from NSS/Mandalay making sense. The attendance figures are too high given our population and therefore all economic impact is overstated.
    Best Regards

  • Vog46

    Lost in all of this is the fact that the Atlanta Braves are not coming here to play. Its the Lynchburg Hillcats. I started going through the box scores for attendance figures and lets just say hey weren’t too great. Calvin Falwell field has a capacity of 4,000. There were some good attendance numbers on SOME weekend games but during the week? Those numbers were pathetic. In some cases there were under 1000 people attending the games. The 2012 average for Lynchburg is 2343 per game in a 4000 seat stadium.

    And we’re gonna build THEM a 6400 seat stadium? And expect 5000 people per game according to Terry Spence?
    The “Waves” are rolling in again and the Port City Roosters are “crowing”.
    We must be out of our collective minds
    All I can say is, if they build this thing we better hold them to a 30 year lease

    Best Regards

  • PFR

    for once I agree with Hinnant. We need to see the details first. But THAT is exactly the problem. By the time they show the public the details it will be too late. They need to negotiate this and then give a public timeperiod to digest and comment.
    There is a fine line between negotiating in private for efficiency sake and ramming something through a blindsided public.

  • anne

    Yes – the supporters are out there quietly working. On the other hand, the non-supporters are publicly working on their case and have therefore drawn the attention of the Mayor and councilmen and women. You residents have been stuck with some sorry excuses for representatives. They have decided, even against the wishes of the people they represent, that there will be a ballpark. Come November, you need to let them know, by voting, just how you feel. I just wonder if the referendum fails what will happen then.

  • Vog46

    There is no question some people love baseball and that the Braves are a great organization.
    But if ANY property tax dollars are used then we are socializing the risk to insure the profits for a private enterprise. This is an outrageous government intrusion into the private marketplace.
    If Wilmington was SO attractive we’d have a team already – ooops they moved due to poor attendance.
    If the deal was so attractive, there’d be no reason to have to go for ANY general obligation bonds because private investment would clamor, no, they’d COMPETE for the opportunity to get in on this investment.

    OOOOoooppps – because of baseballs previous failure they have apparently pulled out.
    No matter which way you slice it and dice it – this is an entertainment venue. Our government socializes certain operations for the betterment of all. This includes water, sewer, roads, police, fire and other infrastructure.
    The ballpark is not infrastructure, its not for the good of all. Government has no right, except for offering possible tax breaks, to invest in this project. It has limited appeal but the tax ramification affect us all (except Duke). Construction and land costs should be borne by private investors.
    I’m all for giving some incentives but I’m against the city bearing any direct costs for this

    Best Regards

  • Wilmington Observer

    I do not want my (tax) money spent on baseball……. of any kind.

    Wilmington Observer

  • Vog46

    Be very careful who you assume doesn’t know what to look for.

    Those that can – do
    Those that can’t – become consultants

    The NSS numbers over state attendance by 50% over most other cities having Milb-A level ball. This is the number Mandalanta has to overcome.
    If they want to proceed they have to come up with the funding to build the stadium at no cost to taxpayers.
    Yeah, I know I’ve heard the stories already from Terry & you.
    Borrowing costs are at an all time low so it should pose no problem for Atlanta (or Atlanta and a consortium of partners) to build this stadium. Business wise there are no impediments to Atlanta doing this. They have the money, the credit line, and the business acumen to make this work. They can keep all the revenue and just pay property taxes to the city and county.
    Yes I’m aware that the city can raise the revenue required through taxation. The question is why WON’T Atlanta do it? Think about this Duke – think HARD.
    If this was SUCH a great investment why won’t Atlanta (and friends) fund it? The answer is quite simple really. They don’t see the attendance and other uses generating enough revenue to justify “private only” funding. That’s Business 101 Duke.
    From our taxpayer standpoint – we ALSO see this as an attendance issue. We wonder why NSS thinks our interest is so much greater than other cities when our past indicates a much LOWER interest in actually going to games. Waves/Roosters ring a bell? But you don’t understand OUR side Duke because you’re not a city taxpayer. We are currently paying $0.37 per $100 of valuation and you are asking for it to INCREASE a whopping 10% of the current rate (your number -estimated 3 cent increase). This so Atlanta can make 18% profit? We don’t trust the NSS numbers, sorry Duke. Why? Because:
    Those that can – do
    Those that can’t – become consultants

    And those that should comment on this are the ones that will be paying for it – and that DOES NOT include you.

    Oh I see it Duke – I see it very clearly. I don’t understand our push for baseball given our past failures.

    By the way no number needed…….
    How long a lease term should Atlanta have? I’m curious as to your take on this.

    Best Regards

  • 1981duke

    Cause you do not know what to look for,we have never had anything here like this ever…stat starpped in you might become a season tix holder

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