48 Comments for this article

Tags: , , , , ,

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to approve the agreement with the Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball to build a baseball stadium in Wilmington. However, the approval did not get passed without a few reservations.

Laura Padgett was the only council member to vote against the agreement. She said that if in November taxpayers approve the deal, she will do everything she can to make sure the ballpark gets built.

In an explanation, Padgett listed her reasons why, which included concerns about mitigation costs on the land purchase and a lack of support for teams who are already here.

“I continue to have a concern that we have two functioning baseball teams, and they are not drawing huge crowds,” she said.

Councilman Kevin O’Grady, though a huge proponent and key negotiator for the city, agrees that there are risks.

“We have a real opportunity here,” O’Grady said. “It’s not without risk, but it has a lot of reward. I mean, we know the risks. There are deal issues. What if the land can’t be acquired? What if the debt isn’t approved? What if the team isn’t available?”

The city’s agreement calls for taxpayers to cover the construction costs of $31 million through a 2.5-cent increase in property taxes. The agreement also calls for $6 million to acquire the land where the ballpark will be built, which would be paid back to the city through rent payments from Mandalay and the Braves.

However, in the end, nothing is certain without a final vote in November.

“And now it’s up to you,” O’Grady said to Wilmington residents. “Tell us whether you want to do it.”

Also at Tuesday night’s council meeting, members voted 6-1 in favor of annexing and rezoning a nearly 10-acre plot of land in the 6000 block of Gordon Road to build an 84-unit town home complex.

A public hearing was held before the vote, and the main concern for residents was traffic.


Comment on this Story

  • Tootsie Stevens

    It is my understanding that if you do not live in the city even though you own property in the city you cannot vote for or against the baseball stadium. Is this not “taxation without representation” that we fought for in the Revolutionary War?. Is it even legal to let people who will not be taxed for this project vote when some of those who will be taxed cannot vote. Does this seem right to you?

  • Vog46

    Ever heard of Mutual Aid? When a neighboring city sends fire trucks to help out? You know that works in reverse? We get help from THEM if our truck are tied up (Like they were for the forest fire on 17th st recently)
    You do know that Region 5 HazMat is stationed in station 5 at Flint and Wellington? That team would respond anywhere in a 5 county area? They would even support Fayetteville HazMat if needed. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m against the routine dispatching of our fire trucks to Pender or Brunswick counties but before we condemn this action, lets see what its all about.

    As for workers comp?
    The city is self insured which means yes taxpayers pay for comp. If they weren’t self insured, taxpayer dollars would pay for workers comp premiums. A LOT of cities and state government agencies are self insured. Please point out where this is costing the city excess funds.


  • Katherine

    I don’t believe a reasonable person would equate providing emergency services, which save property and lives, to building a ball field where grown men play a pointless game.

    And, when the truck is in another county…well, we do have more than one, I hope? If not, it’s because the city says they don’t have money to buy any more. But, of course, they do believe they have money to build a playground for overgrown children.

  • SurfCityTom

    you continue to mistate the facts.

    Look at your post; and then look at my direct quotes from the Greensboro News & Record.

    You twisted news statements; you clearly did not tell the truth.

    You Sir, continue to prove your low standards. You will fabricate any statement; twist any news report, all for the sake of getting that over priced piece of river front real estate onto the city’s back.

    You’ve misstated items on the Convention Center; you’ve tried to compare it to the Durham Center for Performing Arts; you’ve done about everything except state, for the record, that Noah’s Ark is actually buried on that river front piece of acreage.

    Dante’s INferno awaits you.

    But don’t worry, tickets for baseball will be available when Ripken’s Group builds across the river. And they will do it the right way.

  • SurfCityTom

    you hit it on the head.

    Cal Ripken is not involved in the daily activities of Ripken Baseball, Inc.

    Members of his organization have put together a proposal.

    What amazes me is how all of these baseball proponents, who swear they are only looking for baseball, ignore the statement made by the Ripken Group that Mandalanta could use the facility for their baseball team.

    If you check Ripken Baseball’s website, I believe they actually own and operate 3 minor league teams as well as some youth teams and sponsor the Youth league world series; I believe it’s referred to as the Babe Ruth League but I could be wrong on that.

    But look at the number of facilities they design and build. Far greater than 3.

    These local baseball novices would have you do it the sheister way, laden with snake oil, and overseen by Sheister, Ripoff & Fleeceum.

    Intelligent folks realize the Ripken Group will build it the Ripken Way which is the right way.

  • Guest 123

    I do not understand why everyone is mad about tax payer dollars used to fund a ball park when city taxpayers are paying for the Wilmington Fire Department to run calls in Pender and Brunswick county – Free of Charge- When a Firefighter is hurt it is City tax payer dollars paying his workman’s comp. This ballpark is going to cost less than 6.00 a month in taxes. But you don’t mind sending the city trucks into the county at 4.00 / gallon for gas that YOU THE TAXPAYER ARE PAYING. Not to mention- when that truck is in another county- who is protecting you and your property??? You better use that money to buy a hose- because you may be on your own!!!!!

  • Vog46

    And I hope you don’t believe that since mandalay was the first that it’s the ONLY game in town
    Oh and here’s the story:

    If you want to ignore the potential thats sheer recklessness on your part.
    So lets explore the possibility


  • Vog46

    I love margaret and enjoyed watching willie play. That said she’s a 6 figure employee of a non profit agency.
    Emily Langley? Single person company? And being a member of the Chamber is not exactly something to take pride in – especially here.
    Jim Mahan? No comment – I like him
    Rob Gruber? Running a newspaper that’s dying -he stabbed Wilmington in the back by having it printed in Fayetteville. Circulation is down more than the national average.
    Mayor Saffo? A spender thats for sure. The CC is a testament to his inability torun a city. Debt service here is up, total debt is up and he NEEDS to annex to get more revenues to keep spending.

    On the whole not a bad group.
    How about this group?

    Civitas I = 80% of respondents against?
    Civitas II = 80% against?
    WWAY non scientific poll? 3 to 1 against?

    And then there’s PPP – where are THESE results Terry?
    Notice the news media said you were “vague on the poll findings”?
    Think they’ll continue to give you a pass o this?
    Where are the results?


  • Vog46

    Try going to the actual budget instead of a newspaper article
    DPAC is funded by a 1% room occupancy tax
    They had to increase funds to pay ongoing operations so they imposed a $1.50 surcharge on tickets.
    They also increased the amount of dollars transferred from the downtown revitilzation fund into the DPAC fund

    Yes the newpsaper was correct in that some people say ticket sales are rising and that its a good place for entertainment.
    But it is not self sustaining from what I read


  • Katherine

    I don’t believe anyone on here said Cal rang their doorbell and asked if he could come in and talk to them personally about baseball. However, Jason Thompson said he sat down with some representatives from one of Cal Ripken’s baseball groups and they laid out a proposal to him, with plenty of details, for bringing a stadium to the county with a 100,000+ sq ft anchor tenant, funded with private funds.

    If you’re going to call Jason a liar, I would thoroughly enjoy you doing so to his face.

  • Guest 2020

    Been reading some of your posts for a couple a months now. Seems like you’re calling people a lot a names a lot. Seems like you still aint said what’s really good about this ballfield for regular folks. Sure would like to hear what it is.

    This stuff you’re writing about whale poop. Everbody knows you can’t shovel that stuff because its in the the ocean. Thought everbody already knew that.

    Kind of makes me wonder if all that other stuff youve been saying aint true any more than that whale poop stuff.

  • Guest211


  • Vog46

    You are the arbiter of who’s right and wrong only in the recesses of your own egotistical mind.

    So Terry if you’re so confident that this will pass why not release the results of the PPP polling?
    If its bad and you get the referendum passed you’ll look like a hero.
    If its bad and it doesn’t pass you have an excuse.
    So why did yo avoid the question today?


  • Katherine

    Embrace our looming bankruptcy, if this foolish idea gets voted through.
    No money for streets (without tax increases)
    No money for firemen
    No money for policemen
    No money for social programs
    But…money for baseball?

  • Katherine

    You called Jason Thompson a liar, when you said the Ripken Group deal is all a lie. I guess your rules don’t apply to yourself, hmm?

  • MrT

    You only lower your standards when you call some one a liar! Your current standard is about as low as whale poop so you need a shovel, Pal.
    Now if you would like to know the real facts on the Performing Arts center in Durham. Simply refer to the Greensboro News and Record, they recently published the annual results for the center. You will discover that they performed exactly as I stated.
    Don’t worry surfey, your tickets will still be at will call on opening Day.

  • Katherine

    Who is “Emily Langley”? Must be someone new in town.

    Did you just use the word “intelligent” in conjunction with Bill Saffo? It seems that rather than having to “challenge intelligence”, we will instead be dealing with “challenged intelligence”. I’ll try to remember to use small words.

    Good luck with your challenged intelligence campaign. I think it may be the one thing you excel at.

  • Dude1

    Go Wilmington, I live in brunswick county and get to pay the same price for a ticket as Wilmington Tax payers. Glad we get to benefit from what Wilmington doee. I am also glad you did not build it out toward pender county where it would be futher for me to drive.

  • ChefnSurf

    A Fruedian slip as in “I think I’m my own worst enemy”?

  • Rick Wilson

    Yes Mr. T, You do need to work and work hard. It will be extremely difficult for your side to sell the tax payers a 58 million dollar tax pay payer boondoggle with The Ripken Group waiting to provide the Family Entertainment you speak of. Why don’t you just tell the truth? It is really about putting the stadium on a highly polluted piece of property downtown. To get this wish, your side is willing to waste 58 million dollars. You are willing to put the families smack dab in the middle of pollution central. Every argument your side has made has been disproved. What are you going to claim next???????????

  • Guesthelp

    Can someone help me out here. The tax payers are going to spend 36 million dollars to build a BallPark. The below is in the contact.

    -Annual management/rent fee payments of $500,000 from the Braves/Mandalay for 20 years

    500,000 X 20= 10,000,000
    36,000,000 – 10,000,000 =26,000,000

    This is such a good deal for the Tax payers…

    Some one need to start teaching math an the council meetings.

  • 1981duke

    Foe us!

  • 1981duke

    Wilmington “embrace” the opportuniy,as it is something we might see every 20-25 years.
    The landscape of Minor League Baseball is changing,anytime we get a quality team and operator we have to jump “all over it”.

  • GuestBaseball

    Please don’t be fooled.

    “Mr. T” IS Terry Spencer.

    Never seen such ego.

  • Vog46

    A poster on another blog put 2 + 2 together and came up with 4.5 regarding cost over runs.
    Let me reiterate how cost over runs work – these are 2 separate issues
    $31M for stadium –
    If the city changes anything the city pays all cost over runs
    If Mandalay changes anything Mandalay pays everything
    If the contractor causes it then $500,000 is paid by the city towards the over run. Mandalay then makes $25K payments to the city for 10 years for a total of $250,000 or half of the $500,000.

    The land:
    Allocated funds are $6M for acquisition and mediation.
    If this goes over $6M the city pays it all so the key here is get the land as cheap as possible and to try not to have that much in clean up costs.
    If the land and mediation costs $4M – it is my understanding the excess $2M would go towards the stadium and could potentially raise the construction costs to $33M. If the land exceeds $6M the construction is capped at $31M plus $500,000 (for over runs).

    Clear so far? Good !
    Now what happens if the land costs $4M AND then there’s a cost over run of an additional $2M on the stadium?
    Well Mandalay darling you won’t have to pay one red cent of Ted Turners money because the city GAVE the construction fund that extra $2M !!!!!
    Bless our ‘lil hearts………….


  • Pedro

    I attended a few of the Roosters’ games when they were hosted by UNCW. To the other guy in the stands near third base, get at me, it appears we got some work to do.

  • ChefnSurf

    Wilmington council member O’Grady says “It has a lot of reward.”

    This whole deal has been off center since day one. After Wilmington paid them a considerable amount of money, the NSS (a Mandalay chosen company) report turned out to be an advertising brochure for Mandatlanta. Mandatlanta has offered less and less in every step of stadium negotiations and every time they do that council seeems even more eager to “play ball” with them. Throughout the entire process, city “leaders” have either withheld information until forced to divulge it or have simply chosen to mistate facts. Even now they are being less than forthcoming after an agreement has been signed. An agreement that was signed even after it was disclosed (from other sources, of course) that far better deals were available such as the deal from Ripken. Combine all that with several polls overwhelmingly indicating taxpayers want zero part of this and only one word and a question mark come to mind: WHY?

    We all know that a company attempting to sell someone something would never keep raising its price on a product as part of a negotiating strategy. Despite that, Mandatlanta has been doing exactly that, and doing it with the impunity of an insider stock trader. WHY?

    We all know this is a terrible deal for Wilmington and will have seriously negative consequences for years to come. We all know that only a small insider Wilmington minority will have any potential gain from this project. We all know that polls overwhelmingly are against this project. Despite all of that council marches blindly forward like zombies in the thrall of who knows what. WHY?

    I can understand what reward Mandatlanta hopes to achieve. What “reward” was O’Grady referring to? I suspect the answer to that question might be hiding right in front of us in plain sight. With everything else turning out to be so illogical I most certainly hope that does not turn out to be the case.

  • MrT

    When did Cal Ripken disclose to you or any body else that he had secured private investors to build a stadium across the river? That was a smoke screen and you echos know it! I sincerely hope that you guys aren’t so stupid as to think that the city didn’t check this out before moving forward. The relationship between the city and county ain’t good but it ain’t that bad.

  • SurfCityTom

    how have you been right? You plain and simple lie in just about every post you put out there.

    Go back to your memorable post on the Durham Center for the Performing Arts.

    YOu could not even paste and copy accurately.

    You lied, plain and simple.

    Go back to the post T and review all of your mis-statements.

    But keep up the good work. Every time you speak, you give snake oil salesmen a good name.

    And when the dust clears in November, then Ripken’s Group can step in and do it the Ripken Way. The right way.

    So that leaves one question for you to try and answer. ON 04/10/2012, the Baseball GRoup included 23 “Big Time” names. Now you’re down to 6. And one of those was the Mayor, who was not listed back in April. What happened? Looks like 18 of them jumped ship.

  • MrT

    Committee, Terry Spencer,Emily Langley,Margret Stargell,Jim Mahan,Rob Gruber and Bill Saffo. Heavy Hitters, Allstar Line up, Hall of fame candidates. Hey Echos, What about this in-field Boys?
    What do they say?
    Your works cut out for you! This is your opportunity to challenge intelligence for a change. I realize how easy it’s been for you to over shadow both Duke and Myself. However we have been right and you have been wrong up to this point.
    I don’t look for it to get any better for you either.

  • MrT

    Time to put up or shut up, fish or cut bait, do or die!!! The cards are on the table, Atlanta has made the most serious commitment to Minor League Baseball that they have ever made to any host City in America. If we want real Professional Baseball in the Port City we need to work and work hard. If you want real Family Entertainment in Downtown VOTE YES

  • ChefnSurf

    Unfortunately for you, and completely by your own choice, you have painted yourself into a corner of complete irrelevance. The really ironic part of all this is that you’ve done this using a bucket of your own words as your media of choice.

    Without getting into all of your prepubescant name calling, quoting from one of your recent posts as of 9/14/2012: “The city of Wilmington deserves praise for the approach taken in developing the plan to bring minor league baseball to the city. This study has been handled in a very professional manner.” Everyone, including Mandalay, acknowledges the numbers in the NSS report are way off the mark. It has also become public knowledge that other opportunities were available to council, such as Ripken, that were ignored. Everyone knows this, yet you continue to say everything’s been handled in a “professional” manner.

    Your own statements have proven to be contrary to reality. Combine that with your self described persona of being a marketing god among peons and you’ll find very few Wilmingtonians willing to continue to follow your blather. It just wouldn’t make logical sense to do so.

    At this point, the best contribution you could possibly make to the pro-stadium cabal is to remain completely silent. The brush strokes of your own arrogance have resulted in you painting yourself into a corner of irrelevance for your own cause.

    A totally unnecessary thing to have done to yourself and your cause and truly pathetic.

  • WilmingtonNCNative

    It would be nice if Wilmington residents, who live in the unincorporated area, but own property in the city, were also allowed to vote on this bond referendum. My vote would be: NO!

Related News