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Business leaders join ballpark push, tax funding opponents continue petition drive

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Building a baseball stadium has been a hot topic of conversation in Wilmington. Now, some local business leaders are stepping up to bat to support the city’s effort.

The Wilmington Ballpark Coalition says it is banding together for an idea members think is a home run.

“We feel like economic development is a great boost to the economy, number one. It’s affordable entertainment, number two. And number three, we feel like it can be a multi-use facility, so it’s going to be used for more than just baseball,” WBC chair James Hundley Jr. said.

The variety of business leaders say they share a common vision with Wilmington City Council, and they want the city to know they’re ready to pitch in to push the ballpark plan.

“We are here just to support they city’s efforts and make sure that they understand there’s someone else out there other than the ‘just say no’ crowd,” Hundley said.

Hundley says the “just say no” crowd is the people in protesting the possibility of using tax money to build the stadium. Opposition organizer Ben McCoy says the group does not say no to every idea, just the ones that are not thought through.

“We fully support private investment,” McCoy said. “Mandalay (Baseball Properties), the (Atlanta) Braves, anybody building a stadium in Wilmington, we would openly support that, but taxpayers don’t have the money, and they clearly do not support paying for it.”

McCoy says if the the WBC really wants a ballpark, its members should step up to the plate.

“If these are business owners that are stepping up and saying, ‘Hey, we want this,’ put your money where your mouth is,” McCoy said.

Mccoy says the petition that is circulating opposing the ballpark has upwards of 2,000 signatures. The group now needs anyone with a petition to return it so they can count up and verify the signatures.

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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