Wilmington may soon see brand new baseball stadium

Published: Dec. 22, 2011 at 11:37 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2011 at 8:25 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The developer behind the riverfront development that could include a baseball stadium is unveiling his plans to WECT.

Chuck Schoninger owns the land that could be home to the ballpark, and he says the plans are moving forward at a fast pace.

However, the stadium isn't the only component of the riverfront development.

Schoninger is building a hotel, restaurants and a marina on the site, which is situated in the area near the Convention Center and PPD.

The stadium, though, would be financed by a partnership between the city of Wilmington and New Hanover County.

Right now, elected leaders are working on a plan to pay for the park.

WECT has learned that some city and county officials met yesterday to talk about how they could pay for the park.

Sources have indicated that city and county leaders don't want to raise taxes in order to pay for the stadium and they're looking at utilizing some sort of tax increment financing to pay for the ballpark.

"There are some very creative people in the city and county and they're looking at things that your taxes or my taxes wouldn't necessarily go up," Schoninger said.

If that's the case, money generated by the baseball stadium and the development around it would be utilized to pay for the construction of the park.

WECT's Craig Reck reported on the possible costs and sources of financing for the park earlier this week.

Schoninger said he's encouraged by recent meetings with all parties involved.

He believes the project has momentum.

The Atlanta Braves have expressed interest in bringing a minor league team to the Port City and officials with the organization have met with Wilmington and New Hanover County leaders.

In the meantime, Schoninger's moving forward with some of the development on the land.

Crews will break ground on the marina within the next two weeks.

"Obviously, the devil is in the details on this deal," Schoninger said. "We still have some hurdles to overcome and by all means it's not a done deal but it's been moving rapid and there are a lot of positive things going on it."

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