After Wilmington (N.C.) voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed property-tax hike for a new waterfront ballpark, elected officials and baseball people say there probably will be no further efforts to bring MiLB to the city.
The proposal was for a new ballpark funded by taxpayers: $31 million for the ballpark and $6 million for the land. Going in, pretty much everyone knew a property-tax hike in a community notably opposed to taxes was a hard sell, especially when the property tax hike was going to benefit the Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball Properties. The defeat wasn’t a surprise — though the most recent public poll from a conservative group actually underestimated the level of opposition! — but the margin was.
It doesn’t appear like anyone involved wants to revisit the issue of public funding for a ballpark: Mayor Bill Saffo says there’s no Plan B, and no one from Mandalay or the Braves is expressing any great enthusiasm to revisit the issue. The only way fans will see a new ballpark in Wilmington will be through the private sector. Many ballpark opponents were banking on the rumors of a privately financed ballpark from Ripken Baseball, but that talk seems to have completedly died down.
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