WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The City of Wilmington is one step closer to building a ballpark and bringing a minor league team to the Port City. The city’s consultant, National Sports Services, presented results from a recent survey about the ballpark Tuesday night, as well as some possible sites.
About one thousand people took the survey, that was available on the city’s website and sent to those in the Chamber of Commerce email database, and Convention & Visitors Bureau email databases. 69 percent of those who took the survey were residents of Wilmington. 95 percent lived in New Hanover County.
According to the survey results, 47 percent supported a public-private partnership in funding the stadium while 40 percent did not. When asked how much they would be willing to contribute as taxpayers, 46 percent said nothing, 18 percent said up to $2/month, 16 percent said from $2-$4/month and 19 percent said $4-$6/month. 67 percent agreed a ballpark would enhance quality of life, while 25 percent disagreed; 9 percent were undecided.
Though the group admitted this is just the start of a long process, some were not happy with the survey. Several spoke out against the survey results, saying they were inaccurate and not scientific.
“The sample is completely skewed,” said Ben McCoy, who has helped organize a petition against a taxpayer-funded ballpark. “I don’t know how you can really point to these results. It really shakes up to be a cheerleading thing, like go minor league baseball in Wilmington.”
Also at the meeting, potential sites were narrowed down from six to three. They include the greater downtown area, the MLK Parkway corridor and the Eastwood Rd. corridor.
“We’ll take these three sites and we’ll begin to hone in on a much more detailed level on their specific acquisition, infrastructure, implications,” said Cale Doornbos with NSS.
The city and NSS say they have a long way to go before a final decision.
“Part of what’s going to happen in this last phase is looking at all the information that we have in try to tell a story,” said Matt Perry, with NSS.
“It’s a first look at it and its just another step in the process. This process is nowhere near finished,” said Margaret Haynes, a Wilmington City Councilwoman.
After a few more weeks of gathering data and making assessments, National Sports Services will give another report to city council on June 15th.