Organizers say ballpark meeting won’t provide specifics

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Where will it go? How will we pay for it? There are many unanswered questions surrounding a proposed baseball stadium. Tonight, you won’t get those answers, but you can let project managers know how you feel about baseball in the Port City.

“The information we’re going to provide is going to be fairly general,” said Matt Perry, president of National Sports Services, the management team the city hired to look into the feasibility of bringing baseball to Wilmington.

Perry says tonight’s meeting is a public input session. Residents will look at this map, which shows potential stadium sites.

“We look to get some public feedback of the preferences of areas of town where we should be looking,” he said.

Three months ago developer Raiford Trask III, who is now part of a team that could provide private financing for the stadium, offered to buy land downtown near PPD. We spoke with Trask to ask why make an offer on land before residents got a chance to speak out? He said he does not comment on transactions until they close.

Also at tonight’s meeting, NSS will discuss how other cities have funded stadiums.

“They’ll basically talk about some of the different models that are out there and really explain that to the public so they’ll have a better understanding of what some of the common ways of doing this are,” city spokesman Dylan Lee said. “As far as the specifics of Wilmington’s situation, that’s yet to be determined.”

That means we still don’t know how the city will pay for it. That’s where an online survey could come into play.

“We’re putting together the survey as we speak, and communicating with our team and the city as far as verifying the questions we want to ask,” Perry said.

They are questions that could help determine whether baseball and wilmington are a hit.

The Trask family also owns the Autumn Hall development off Eastwood Road, which is on the city’s list of possible sites, but Trask said today the family decided the ballpark would not be a good fit there.

There will be another public meeting tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m., but NSS will not be there. Instead, residents will see a video of tonight’s presentation.

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