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ONLY ON 3: Business owner explains push for privately-funded ballpark

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Baseball continues to be the talk of the Port City, especially how to pay for a proposed ballpark. Now some business owners have joined the push against taxpayer money for the stadium.

The Privately Funded Baseball Alliance says no matter where the ballpark goes, the city does not need to pay for it.

“In the city charter there’s 42 specific enumerated powers that the city council has. Baseball is not mentioned,” Scott Harry said.

Harry, a business owner, says he thought it was necessary to start the Privately Funded Baseball Alliance, because it looks ever more likely that this stadium will be taxpayer funded.

Harry says he is risking a lot starting this group, because he would want his construction company’s supplies to help build the ballpark. But he says, at this point, his push for private funding is a necessary risk.

“the city just can’t afford this now,” Harry said. “Maybe if we had a huge surplus, maybe then we would say, ‘Sure that’s a good use for it,’ but it’s not the time. Our economy is not doing well, and people are suffering, and they’re wanting to spend huge amounts of money on a luxury.”

Wilmington Mayor Pro Tem Earl Sheridan says the city is still looking into its financing options.

“We would like to get something done,” Sheridan said. “We have this interest in doing the stadium. We want to have something that would not burden the taxpayers.”

Among the land mentioned for the ballpark is property near PPD owned by developer Chuck Schoninger. We ran into him at City Hall, where he was meeting with Mayor Bill Saffo.

“Our focus right now is what we are doing on our project,” Schoninger said. “If baseball ends up there that would be wonderful. We would be very happy. We’ll do anything we can do to facilitate that.”

Harry will hold a news conference Monday at City Hall to announce the start of the Privately Funded Baseball Alliance.

More: continued here

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