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Business leaders join ballpark push

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A group of business leaders are joining forces to help push for a minor baseball stadium in Wilmington. The group calls itself the Wilmington Ballpark Coalition.

WBC chair Jim Hundley, Jr., said he wanted to lead the effort after researching the benefits minor league baseball has brought to other cities across the country. Hundley is CEO of T2 Healthcare, a medical device company.

“We’ve seen the great things that a new ballpark can do to build civic pride and spur economic development, and our City Council is taking the right approach in negotiating a long-term deal to build a ballpark here,” Hundley said in a statement. “We want to let the Council know that we are behind their efforts as they work on the right deal for taxpayers.

“Unfortunately in Wilmington, we have several groups who want to just say no to any possible city project. I think that sends the wrong message to the City Council. These types of public/private partnerships can be a big boost to Wilmington, and we can’t dismiss their great potential.”

A group of citizens has begun a petition effort to try and block Wilmington City Council from using tax money to build a ballpark. The group needs about 2,900 signatures to present their resolution to City Council. Late last month they had at least 1,400.

So far the plans have suggested the city paying about $40 million on the project. Meanwhile the city says it is researching funding options, including the possibility of public-private partnership.

The Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball Properties say they will commit to a 20-lease to put a team in the Port City.

Wilmington Baseball Coalition members come from a variety of industries and backgrounds, but they share a common vision for Wilmington’s future. According to a news release from the group, initial estimates provided to the City Council show the city’s investment in the ballpark would have an economic return of at least four to one.

Members of the coalition include:
Jim Hundley, Jr., Chairman
Dr. James Hundley Sr., Vice-Chairman
Margaret Weller-Stargell, Vice-Chairman
Tom Babel – Ward and Smith
Dick Blouse – Global Perspectives, LLC
Dr. William Carmichael – Riverside Dental Arts
Ken Dull – McKinley Building Corporation
Chris Fernandez
Matt Henrie – MedTech Associates
Russell Johnson ¬– RJR Productions Inc.
Hal Kitchin – McGuire Woods LLP
Emily Longley – Longley Supply Co.
Capt. Howard Loving – U.S. Navy (Retired)
Connie Majure-Rhett – Wilmington Chamber of Commerce
Roy Morgan – Signs by Tomorrow
Dallas Romanowski – Cornerstone Advisory Partners
Jarrett Shearin – Senn Dunn Insurance
Terry Spencer
Mary Margaret Latham-Vann – Parkway Volvo
Bill Vasser – Screen Gems Studios
John Hinnant – Wilmington Downtown Inc
Jonathan Weiss – City Club at deRosset
Rob Ziglar – East Coast Contracting

More: continued here

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