Sloppiness in the collection process has caused a board of elections to strike more signatures from a drive to deny public funding of a new Wilmington (N.C.) ballpark.
The issue: some of the pages of the petition had a heading that had nothing to with sports or baseball. Because these pages didn’t pertain to the specific proposal, they were struck. Now, instead of being 14 or so signatures short, the group is now 45 signatures short.
Opponents turned in 3,900 or so signatures; 2,842 verified signatures are needed to either force a referendum or enact the proposal, which would bar city funding of sports facilities in the city. They have the rest of the summer to garner enough signatures to force a question on the November election ballot.
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.
Chris Libert is one of the names that was thrown out. He thought he was signing something that had nothing to do with baseball and was shocked when people started calling him after seeing his name on WECT for signing the petition.
“I know that there’s a lot going on with this with the stadium, but I think it’s good for Wilmington,” said Chris Libert. “Hopefully the people in charge will reduce the taxes on the tax payers, but I think it is good to enhance our community.”
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