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Opponents of Wilmington ballpark fail in petition drive

Carolina LeagueA petition drive designed to prevent tax dollars being spent on a new Wilmington (N.C.) ballpark has temporarily failed, with opponents coming up short by 14 votes.

The drive isn’t exactly derailed by this: though there’s apparently some ambiguity about whether more signatures can be submitted, City Attorney Bill Wolak says more signatures can be submitted, but even ballpark-funding opponents aren’t sure that’s true, according to this Star News article

Ben McCoy, who also headed the petition drive, has been trying to call the board of elections to see what the next step is. He said the group has received 100 to 200 more signatures since turning over the petition to the city.

McCoy said he doesn’t know what the next step is and if they will be allowed to submit additional signatures.

“The law is so ambiguous it doesn’t really say what to do next,” he said.

Opponents turned in 3,900 or so signatures; 2,828 signatures were verified, but 2,842 were needed to either force a referendum or enact the proposal, which woild bar city funding of sports facilities in the city.

City officials have been working with Mandalay Baseball Properties and the Atlanta Braves on a plan for a $35-million ballpark to house the relocating Lynchburg Hillcats (High Class A; Carolina League). Though all the specifics of any proposal have not yet been released, the initial outline calls for a private developer to build the ballpark and be repaid by the Braves and Mandalay as well as unspecified revenues from the city.

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