At its meeting on Thursday, the High Point City Council voted to move forward with a new funding plan for a proposed ballpark.
Discussion of a new funding plan was prompted by a recent decision by the Guilford County Commissioners. The city had been considering taking out a bond for the construction of a $30 to $35 million ballpark, and asked Guilford County to forgo any additional tax revenue generated within a 649-acre zone for the project. The extra tax revenue would be used to help pay off the loan for the ballpark, but Guilford County Commissioners voted last month to hold off for 60 to 90 days on making any decisions regarding the county’s funding participation in the project.
High Point officials are looking to move forward with the plan in order to ensure that the ballpark can open for the 2019 season as the new home of the Bridgeport Bluefish (independent; Atlantic League). The 8-1 vote on Thursday saw the council approve a “Plan B” funding model, in which the city would borrow $30 to $35 million and look to pay off the debt on its own. That decision allows discussion to continue, but some city officials are hopeful that the county will ultimately decide to be involved in some capacity. More from The Greensboro News & Record:
The county’s role has also been a source of tension for the council. Some council members haven’t abandoned hope that the county will shoulder some of the debt.
On Dec. 5, city leaders will present the project to the state Local Government Commission, which must give its permission before High Point can borrow the money for the stadium.
Councilman Latimer Alexander said city leaders will present “Plan A” if commissioners change their minds between now and then, or “Plan B” if they don’t.
The project has been pitched as part of a larger initiative for redevelopment in downtown High Point. 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 that BB&T is expected to serve as the facility’s naming rights partner. A variety of amenities and development, including new lodging and residential units, have been pitched as part of the downtown redevelopment plan.
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