Wilmington City Council voted unanimously last night to put the $37 million bond referendum for the proposed baseball stadium on this November’s ballot. As WHQR’s Andrew Jarachovic reports, two-dozen citizens made impassioned statements both for and against the new ballpark.
Proponents of the new stadium claim the new facility will be a source of civic pride as well as jobs and economic development. Margaret Weller-Stargell, widow of baseball legend Willie Stargell and life-long Wilmington resident, says the new ballpark would elevate the city to big league status.
“A new ballpark and professional sports team would be an incredible benefit to our city. When you look at other cities like ours, and look at their biggest attractions, a top notch sports and entertainment venue is usually at the top of the list. We need it here now.”
Among the citizens who oppose a taxpayer funded sports arena, was Ben McCoy. He says there are other projects in the city that need attention first.
“It makes no sense. We got roads you can’t drive on, crime is rampant in this town all you have to do is crack open a paper and see that. It’s the sort of thing that when once we get our priorities taken care of maybe we can look at it but we don’t have our priorities taken care of.”
Although Mayor Bill Saffo and other members of City Council officially endorse the bond issue, they say ultimately, it will be decided on by the voters.