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Group speaks out against public funding for Wilmington baseball stadium

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TWC News: Group speaks out against public funding for Wilmington baseball stadium
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WILMINGTON -- Business owners and residents continue to team up against plans for a publicly funded baseball stadium.

The Privately Funded Baseball Alliance supports a stadium in the Port City, as long as it comes at no cost to taxpayers.

The business owners and residents that make up the alliance took their concerns to City Hall Monday.

"Although we would love a new privately-funded baseball stadium here in the city, we absolutely under no circumstances want out taxpayer dollars to support it," said Scott Harry, business owner and organizer of the alliance.

For the launch of the alliance, they had more than 100 letters explaining their position signed by residents. Each council member got their own packet of letters.

"We all agree it's not the governments job to take taxpayer money and spend it on a luxury endeavor in the middle of a recession that's not a good idea," said Harry.

The goal of the alliance coincides with a petition with the same aim. Since February, petition organizers said they've received around 2,500 signatures and they only need 500 more.

If the petition is successful, city leaders would have to approve the petition language or put it up for a public vote.

"A lot of us involved in our group have signed their letter and they've signed our petition, we look forward to working side by side," said Ben McCoy, a petition organizer.

Those who support the stadium no matter how it's paid for said they came out Monday to see how the alliance plans to raise the private funds and they said they let with their question unanswered.

"I kind of came with the assumption that they would actually have ideas and perhaps even investors that were willing to help out with this," said Bryan Abrams, a Wilmington resident.

McCoy said there's private interest there, the city just needs to pursue it further.

"I think Raiford Trask and his group is on the right track, they're already putting together some private money, it won't take much more of an effort to get it over the finish line," said McCoy.

If that happens, these groups will be on the same team.

At Tuesday's nights city council meeting, Mandalay Baseball and the Atlanta Braves are expected to present a proposal that details a private-public funding model.

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