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Fayetteville Ballpark Financing Plan Approved

Carolina League logoThe Fayetteville City Council approved a financing plan for a new ballpark for a Houston Astros High A Carolina League team that combines city funds with contributions from Cumberland County.

The financing plan passed the city council by a 9-1 vote and was sent to Cumberland County for approval.

Under the plan, the city would issue limited obligation bonds, with a 30-year repayment schedule. The $33 million budget would start with $7 million from the Fayetteville Public Works Commission. About $9 million in lease payments from the Astros would back those bonds, as well as increased sales taxes generated from the project. From the Fayetteville Observer:

“I think it’s a fiscally responsible plan that gives the balance of city, county and private sector dollars and doesn’t have an ad valorem tax increase,” said Councilman Kirk deViere, who led the committee’s financial subcommittee.

City officials said the plan would not require a property tax increase.

Bill Crisp, who cast the only dissenting vote, declined to elaborate why.

“We are still in negotiations with some parties,” Crisp said.

If approved by Cumberland County, the next step would be working out a lease with the Astros, with one more final vote. The broad strokes of an agreement have already been reached with the Astros when the city agreed to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the team. The goal is a 2019 opening for the new ballpark. The Fayetteville team would be one of two new teams entering the Carolina League in 2017. In MiLB these two teams replace contracted franchises (Bakersfield and High Desert) in the California League.

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