The Wilmington City Council voted 6-1 last night to enter into an agreement with Mandalay Baseball and the Atlanta Braves to build a multi-purpose sports stadium on the downtown riverfront. It's now in the hands of voters, who get to decide in November whether or not to approve a $37 million dollar bond referendum to fund construction. Rich Neumann, president of baseball development for Mandalay, waited through the long meeting for the vote. He says Mandalay explored this market for 10 years searching for the right location and the political will to get to this point.
"When reasonable people take a hard look at this and see what the investment is on the part of the taxpayer and the city and consider what their return on that investment is, it's a very good deal for the city of Wilmington. As well as for Mandalay and the Braves."
Though he couldn't confirm a dollar amount, Neumann says Mandalay and the Braves will be involved with a referendum campaign, though most of it will come from the local level. Those opposed to the stadium say they do not want public money used to fund private development. It's expected that both sides will campaign heavily leading up to the vote in November.