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City OK’s Knights funding request, at lower level

Charlotte Knights

Charlotte (N.C.) city officials refined a plan to help fund a new Charlotte Knights (Class AAA; International League) ballpark, adding hotel/motel taxes to mix and dropping the total to $8.5 million.

The Knights originally requested $11 million coming from property-tax increases in the ballpark area; this number was later reduced to $9 million by city officials before the new plan emerged late last week. The new plan calls for $8.5 million from the city ($522,000 annually for 20 years), with 85 percent of that coming from existing hotel/motel taxes and the rest from property taxes.

The city funding is the last pieces of the puzzle. Mecklenburg County has already agreed to lease the Uptown ballpark site for $1 annually and will pay the Knights $8 million for infrastructure improvement. The Knights will privately finance the vast majority of the cost of the $55-million project: $37.5 million, assuming the city portion comes through.

If the funding plan is approved by the full City Counciland that’s an iffy proposition, given how the city’s finances are going — work will begin before the end of the year, with a ballpark opening planned for 2014.

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