The Winston-Salem City Council approved an 11-member Citizens Baseball Review Committee, which will need to approve every city dollar spent on the completion of a new downtown Winston-Salem Dash ballpark.
The Winston-Salem City Council approved an 11-member Citizens Baseball Review Committee, which will need to approve every city dollar spent on the completion of a new downtown Winston-Salem Dash (High Class A; Carolina League) ballpark.
The new ballpark sits unfinished. It was supposed to open this season, but after owner Billy Prim ran into financial issues and failed to extricate himself and the team from co-owner Andrew "Flip" Filipowski construction was halted, and subcontractors filed liens for payment.
After Prim unsuccessfully searched for equity partners, he then turned to the city for financial help in finishing the $40.7 million facility. And that's where the citizens oversight committee comes in: the city agreed to chip in an additional $12.7 million, but only if it had complete oversight of where the money was going. The committee will review the destination of every dollar coming from the city, ensure minority-hiring goals are met and review the team's books once the ballpark opens. (We're guessing all these data will remain public, though we're not that familiar with North Carolina open-data laws.)
The additional money gives Prim and his development company the chance to finish the $40.7 million ballpark for the 2010 season. Prim says problems in the credit market had limited his ability to borrow enough money to complete the ballpark and buy out co-owner Filipowski.
Even with a new ballpark, the team is not out of the woods. In order just to break even the team needs an attendance of 350,000 per season.
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