The Wilmington Sharks (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League) are pitching local leaders on upgrades to Buck Hardee Field, believing that improvements would expand the ballpark’s potential in the future.
On Tuesday, the Sharks with met with The Legion Stadium Commission to discuss possible renovations to the ballpark. The team is seeking to improve multiple areas of the Buck Hardee Field, with a new entrance, more seating, a new press box, and other upgrades among the renovations that could be pursued.
Sharks ownership feels that improving Buck Hardee Field will be key to the team’s growth going forward, while also better positioning the facility to draw other sporting events. The team is proposing to pick up one-third of an estimated $2-million price tag, with the total cost of the project covered by a public-private partnership that would also involve the county, New Hanover school district, and city. More from WECT.com:
“For us, it’s truly critical that we’re able to develop a plan with the city and the county to renovate because we’ve really outgrown the existing facility and we have a lot of growth left and we want to see that facility grow with us,” said Matt Perry, one of the owners and president of the Wilmington Sharks.
Leaders with New Hanover County, the NHC school board, and Wilmington City Council discussed funding options to expand the field at Legion Stadium, located on Carolina Beach Road. Some of the renovations would include a new entrance, fencing, more seating, and a new press box. Expanding the stadium also gives Wilmington an opportunity to attract other sporting events that would ultimately boost the economy.
The Sharks representatives presented leaders with several options for renovation costs, but it will be around $2 million. But the deciding factors come down to more than just money.
“You also have Title IX issues now trying to make the goal is to have women’s or female facilities, be on par with male facilities. So that’s another piece of the puzzle that’s hard to do,” said ·Neil Anderson, of Wilmington city council & Chair of Legion Stadium Committee.
In addition to hosting the Sharks, Buck Hardee Field is also home to New Hanover High School’s baseball program. No decisions on the proposal were made at Tuesday’s meeting, so discussions over the plan are expected to continue.
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