WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The future of local baseball team the Wilmington Sharks is up for discussion.
In a meeting Tuesday morning, team officials asked city and county leaders for $2-million to renovate Buck Hardee Field at Legion Stadium.
Of the $2-million, the team would contribute one-third.
The upgrades would include more seating, parking, new dugouts, a better press box to hold media and game officials, and more.
“We’re really at the point now where push has come to shove and as a business we’ve got to make some hard decisions,” Wilmington Sharks Co-Owner and President Matt Perry said.
The $2-million price tag on renovations comes after a $6-million request wasn’t formally denied, but the team was told it wasn’t likely they’d receive that much funding.
Team co-owner and president Matt Perry says they need to accommodate their growth.
“We max out in that facility quite often,” Perry said. “I think we could easily get another thousand people in there if we had the ability to do that.”
City councilman and chair of the Legion Stadium Commission Neil Anderson says improvements would be a good thing, it’s just a matter of jumping through certain hoops to make it possible.
One being the sharks sharing the stadium with New Hanover High School.
“Trying to blend those two is often a challenge,” Anderson said. “You also have Title IX issues now. The goal is to have women’s or female facilities be on par with male facilities.”
That problem could be solved in creating an adjustable field to suit men and women’s sports.
Another obvious issue, finding the funds.
“It’s not like we even have the money to do any of this,” Anderson said. “If money weren’t an issue and we didn’t have the Title IX issues to deal with, we can still overcome them but they make it harder and more expensive.”
Still, it appears everyone would like to see forward motion.
“We’d all like to see something happen,” Perry said. “Question’s gonna be, how to we go about the process?”
No decision was made today regarding the funding. Officials are planning another meeting for stakeholders in the stadium to discuss priorities.
Full disclosure: WWAY is the official media partner of the Wilmington Sharks.