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Ballpark petition declared insufficient, council votes to move ahead with bond referendum

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington voters get ready for November. City Council voted unanimously to move the baseball bond referendum forward.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Wilmington City clerk Penny Spicer-Sidbury declared the petition against a tax funded ballpark not sufficient because it lacked affidavits which are required by state law and city code according to the city attorney.

The city attorney also says that an affidavit would be required for everyone that brought the petition around to get it signed. Sidbury says she will not certify the petition.

As for the bond referendum discussion, City Councilman Kevin O’Grady says that the $42 million number that has been thrown around is going to be a lot less. He said he didn’t believe anyone on council would approve such a high price tag.

“The dollar amount that everyone will get to vote on, if we get to that point, will be very different,” O’Grady says. “It’s not going to be $42 million. It’s going to be a lot less that that. I doubt anybody up here would vote to put $42 million up.”

Mayor Pro-tem Earl Sheridan says council will be looking at several options.

“I think that was one of the things that came out in the report that national sports that there were some stadiums in some other places that were less in price and I think council will be looking at the possibility of one that is less than that $42 million mark that was noted,” Sheridan says.

A special Wilmington City Council meeting will be held July 24 to set a public hearing date before their August 7 deadline to give the bond final approval.

According to Wilmington City spokeswoman Malissa Talbert, during their closed session meeting City Council instructed staff to negotiate for the possible purchase of a downtown property for a baseball stadium. The property has been identified as #10 Harnett Street, which is the old Almont Property on the riverfront that is owned by Riverfront Holdings II, LLC.

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