ONLY ON 3: Developers quiet a day after mayor criticizes ballpark plan

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — One day after Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said the proposal for a ballpark is not a good one for the city, many of the main players who pitched the plan are MIA.

We contacted the private developers, Mandalay Baseball and the Atlanta Braves and got very little response.

“Pardon the pun here; we’re putting all of our skin into the game and they have very little skin in the game,” Saffo told Chad Adams during an appearance on The Big Talker FM Tuesday morning.

We wondered what the group that put that proposal together thought about the mayor’s comments, but we heard more answering machines than anything else.
Rich Neumann from Mandalay Baseball simply said, “No comment,” and hung up on us when we asked why.

Co-developer Raiford Trask III refused to go on camera. He did say, “First and foremost, as a taxpayer, I’m glad to see the city is approaching this in that manner. The mayor has always been very fiscally responsible, and there’s no reason to assume he would not be on this project.

“From the first day we talked about this we made it clear that the development team was only interested in this deal if it’s a good deal for the city, the Braves, Mandalay, as well as us.”

Connie Majure-Rhett with the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce said she was in meetings all day and directed us to Jim Hundley of the Wilmington Baseball Coalition.

“I think what the comments suggest is that the mayor and the city council are taking a reasonable approach in making sure that it’s a good deal for the city,” Hundley said.

We did not get calls back from co-developer Clay Boardman from Flywheel, lead architect Chris Boney, or Mike Plant and Chip Moore of the Atlanta Braves.

The private developers, Mandalay Baseball and the Braves are expected to bring an updated proposal to city council in early June.

Meanwhile, a group working on a petition to block taxpayer funding of the ballpark says it is close to the number of signatures it needs to force City Council to adopt their plan or put it up for a public vote. The group will host a public softball game and other activities at Wilmington’s Empie Park Saturday from noon till 3 p.m.

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