MTYT: Mixed emotions regarding proposed minor league ballpark - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

MTYT: Mixed emotions regarding proposed minor league ballpark

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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - We sure did hear from a lot of you on the possibility of a minor league ballpark in Wilmington. And not all of you want to play ball. I'd say the response was about 50 – 50.

Most of those opposed to the ballpark would probably like to take a baseball bat to my head for being somewhat okay with some higher taxes in order to pull this off.

One viewer wrote: "Have taxpayers pay for a ballpark, really? I'd recommend that you ‘buy a clue,' but I'm sure you'd want the taxpayers to provide it to you."

Another viewer said: "If this is such a great idea there would be no problem finding private investors to pay for this, unfortunately they seem to be completely absent."

The people who support the ballpark, along with the possibility of a tax increase, pretty much agree the burden shouldn't fall only on the backs of Wilmington residents. Most feel the county should work with the city to pull this off.

And just for the record, I don't feel the whole ticket should fall on the folks from Wilmington either. There should be some way to obtain enough private money and possibly subsidize it a little with public money from the entire region to make this happen.

Here's one viewer's rebuttal to the naysayers: "Anyone who would not like to bring baseball to Wilmington, I just can't relate to this kind of thinking. Only positive things can come from this."

So that's your turn on the proposed baseball stadium. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at yourturn@wect.com.


Emailed comments from viewers:

I understand the desire to see a good baseball game but I do not understand the wisdom of spending taxpayer's money to do it.  2 reasons:  the current state of our economy which is real dismal and the fact that the last 2 tries proved that this area is not interested.  I refer to the Roosters and the Waves. If Atlanta is interested in placing a team here, and it is for sure they are not interested in sharing any of the profits, let them build and pay for it.

However, the city does not have to foot the bill by itself.  It can annex the rest of the county to get more money.  I still have a few square feet in my backyard that could be used for the stadium.

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Couple of suggestions regarding the proposed Baseball Stadium... This can work and be a money making opportunity if it's done right.  And it has to happen in the initial planning and architectural drawings etc.  Basically what we're doing is giving the "space" more opportunity for sales etc.  and in turn when proposing this to the opposition have these on hand to convince them that this is a good thing for our city and not a bad thing.   Here are a couple of suggestions. 

  1. I think they should have a space for weddings and/or receptions, corporate events, even having a space for birthday parties and such.  Maybe a large room and a few smaller rooms that overlook the field and stadium.  Maybe even have a restaurant attached that would be accessible during the day and/or night.  This could be a commercial rental place.  Ideally I think it would have to be in the section of the stadium that is closest to the PPD building.  The employees can walk to the restaurant is what I envisioned. 
  2. Regarding the initial sketch that's circulating on the web.  I think the baseball stadium should be reversed so the outfield backs up to the river, instead of the latter as in the drawing.  This way so when players hit homeruns there can be the possible opportunity to hit balls in the river given there are no environmental issues.  Thoughts are this would be similar to The San Francisco Giants baseball stadium.  What we're doing is building excitement for the fans and the kids.   
  3. Add a bar/social gathering place at the top left field stands and or a plateau of such so that if the opportunity presented itself individuals could have an outdoor reception and/or event.   Only open before home games.  I lived in a town where they had a minor league team and there they had a bar and after work and before games it was always packed.  The Stadium became a family fest and adult social fest.  Lots of fun!  I think this could be a huge attraction on a number of levels. 
  4. Have the architectural element be similar to one of the newer pro stadiums… like the Atlanta Braves Stadium.  Just a smaller version.   And when marketing the stadium, advertise this.  What we're doing is giving the stadium hype and excitement. 

I think I heard an idea that I thought was a brilliant idea.  Have Brunswick County help in the cause as well.  David Hollis the town manager in Leland is very proactive and I imagine whatever strings he can pull he would definitely be up a plus.  He's a very creative individual and has the mind to definitely be a team player in all of this…

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I work for new Hanover County in case you have for gotten, for the past Three Years the employees of new Hanover County have had wage reduction only to get a 1% raise this year . I don't think New Hanover county should get in the Base Ball business until it can pay its employees.

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While I am not a big baseball fan, I am not opposed to having a minor league team here.  I am opposed to having a bunch of middle class tax payers fund a stadium to subsidize a bunch of rich sports moguls.  Will the proposed lease even cover the debt service?  What will happen to the Lynchburg, Virginia, stadium after they pull their team out to move it here?  What will happen here when they pull their team out at some future date, as they surely will if they think they can make more money elsewhere?  These questions need to be addresseed before our local politicos go gaga over a possible ball park.

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If you like baseball, then by all means feel free to invest your personal money into this business venture.  Otherwise, I as a tax paying citizen would rather have my substantial tax money be spent on education and infrastructure in order to advance this area's growth.  If the ballpark was such a great investment, it would not need taxpayer money!

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Count me as one of those who would let you pay for my share too.  

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I am tired of your whining for everyone to support your desire for a Baseball Field.  If you want it so badly, get you and your old cronies to so and do not expect the taxpayers to support it.  You need to round up the funding!!!!!

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