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County Approves Contribution to Fayetteville Ballpark

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Cumberland County has agreed to help fund a High-A Carolina League ballpark in downtown Fayetteville, marking an important step for the proposal.

Both the city and county have been working on their respective funding plans for the ballpark that will house a Houston Astros affiliate.  For its contribution, the county had previously proposed kicking in tax revenue generated by a special district that surrounds the ballpark. Ultimately, that is what its board agreed to do on Monday, giving the plan unanimous approval. More from the Fayettteville Observer:

The resolution says the county will provide increased revenue from a special tax district for the stadium. [Board chairman Marshall] Faircloth said commissioners would consider approval of the agreement after city and county officials work out the exact parameters for the district.

The resolution says the agreement would be contingent on the county school board agreeing to eliminate the increased tax revenue from a funding agreement the school system has with the county.

County Manager Amy Cannon and Faircloth met with school officials about the issue. She said the school board is expected to approve the revenue being left out of the funding agreement.

The resolution passed by commissioners calls for the county to provide 100 percent of the county’s part of the increased tax revenue to the project for five years and 75 percent for another 15 years.

Last week, the city approved its own financing plan by a 9-1 vote. It will issue limited obligation bonds on a 30-year payment schedule, and is expected to receive upfront money from the Fayetteville Public Works Commission and an additional $9 million over a 30-year lease with the Astros.

Having already agreed to a memorandum of understanding with the Astros, Fayetteville is still seeking to finalize its lease with the team by the end of this year. Currently expected to cost $33 million, the new ballpark would open in 2019, but the Astros’ franchise will join the Carolina League in 2017 as part of a realignment with the California League.

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