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Poll results won’t be public: Wilmington chamber

Carolina LeagueResults of polling on a new Wilmington (N.C.) ballpark for an Atlanta Braves farm team won’t be released to the public by the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.

The stated reason: the polling was done to refine a message urging voters to approve a property-tax hike ($50 annually on a house worth $200,000) to pay for the waterfront facility, not necessarily to establish hard numbers on public support. Of course, the assumption is that the numbers are so bad that they’ll never see the light of day. Indeed, we’ve heard from several sources that if the referendum were held today, it would go down. The only public polling numbers — released by the conservative Civitas Institute — says the referendum would go down by an 80-20 margin, but no one — including ballpark opponents we’ve heard from — takes that number seriously. Still, persuading voters to approve a tax hike to pay for a new ballpark in a notoriously tax-adverse city will be a uphill battle.

The proposal: Wilmington (N.C.) would finance a $37-million waterfront ballpark that could open for the 2014 season, with Mandalay Baseball Properties and the Atlanta Braves leasing the facility for the relocating Lynchburg Hillcats (High Class A; Carolina League).

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