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City Council Sees Some Holes in Baseball Financing Plan

By Tage Olsin

Last night in Wilmington, a team of private developers presented a financial proposal for a baseball stadium to the city council. 

The Flywheel/Trask Development proposal involves financial contribution from both private developers and the city.  But as WHQR’s Sara Wood reports, some council members see holes in the proposal.

City Council Member Kevin O’Grady says he would like to see the presence of the county commissioners at the table, because the county stands to gain more from the proposed stadium in property and sales tax.

“In every aspect of it the county gains more than the city will. And yet they’re not contributing. They know the benefits there, their county manager explained it to them. We need to work on them some more. And they need to see that there has to be a vision for developing this area in the future. You don’t get wealthier by cutting. You have to make investments that pay back.”

O’Grady says the political reality of a city-county discussion may be that the discussion will have to wait until after November elections. County Commission Vice Chairman Jonathan Barfield says he supports the proposed stadium and it’s a tremendous economic tool for both the city and county. 

O’Grady says there is also a greater need for broader government support, not just from New Hanover County, but from Brunswick and Pender counties as well. He says he would like to see more plans for private development.

“The most successful stadiums have come with an overall development scheme. Some plan for what will be built around it. We didn’t hear anything about that. And that’s another area where the private sector has not picked up the ball and run with it.”

The city has a private consultant analyzing the proposed plan, and it will make final recommendations to the council by mid-June.