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High Point Ballpark County Vote Delayed

New High Point ballpark

We have a delay in the funding plan for a new High Point (N.C.) ballpark, as Guilford County commissioners voted to put off a decision on any funding participation in the project, envisioned as home to an independent Atlantic League team.

The vote was 8-1, with county commissioners saying they’d prefer creating a working group with High Point leaders to work out a funding plan. Commissioners were asked to basically enable tax-increment financing, where any additional tax revenue created by the ballpark and accompanying development would be used to pay down bonds issued to pay for construction costs.

The commissioners are being asked to contribute to a new ballpark and associated development. A group led by High Point University president Nido Qubein has raised $50 million for the plan, above its intended goal of $38 million, and BB&T is expected to serve as the facility’s naming rights partner. The city has pledged $15 million for land acquisition, and could borrow another $30 million for ballpark construction. High Point is asking Guilford County to forgo any additional tax revenue generated within the 649-acre zone for the project, with the extra tax revenue used for up to 20 years to pay off the loan for the ballpark.

The issue for commissioners wasn’t necessarily the merits of the plan, but rather their lack of participation. Qubein negotiated many of the details with the major funders, but didn’t include Guilford County officials in the talks. From the Greensboro News & Record:

“We have to be given the time to do our due diligence,” said Commissioner Hank Henning, who, like Foster, represents High Point.

Henning said he doesn’t mind telling opponents of the plan that he supports it. But he has to get to “yes” first.

“I have to get to a place where I can say, ‘I believe all of the questions have been answered.’”

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