City leaders in High Point are moving forward with plans to build a professional baseball stadium in the downtown area.
Some residents are planning a community meeting Thursday evening to discuss the issue. They have concerns over how the city will fund the project.
High Point City Council recently approved spending of up to $15 million to buy land for a stadium. That's about half of the cost of the total facility. The city would finance the project with bonds, basically borrowing the money from taxpayers with plans to pay it back.
But some residents don't like the use of public dollars for the stadium, and say it's too risky. James Adams says private money should anchor the project.
“We're not opposed to the stadium but we think there's a level of transparency that we don't have or see right now,” says Adams. “There's a lot of competition from cities nearby that have stadiums and similar projects have struggled in other cities. We're asking for it to go on the ballot. We have put things on the ballot that didn't take as much money as this project takes.”
High Point leaders say the stadium development will revitalize downtown.
“I think there are year round opportunities that we will get from the furniture market when we have a more vibrant downtown,” says Randy Hemann, assistant city manager of High Point. “I think we will be able to attract some corporate headquarters or things that we might not otherwise get because we lack some amenities in our downtown that other cities have."
Hemann says this is an area that's seen a huge dip in property tax revenue over the past several years.
“When you look at who is paying for this stadium in the end it's all the facility fees, the naming rights and all those other things. It's not a line item in the budget of tax money that's paying for this,” says Hemann. “The benefit to the city is the additional tax base.”
The community meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Carl Chavis YMCA in High Point.
While community members discuss their next steps, city leaders will hold a public meeting on their plans for development around the stadium on Monday, July 31.
In May, High Point University President Nido Qubein said he would raise $38 million from private donors to build projects that will help bring more foot traffic downtown and around the stadium. Some ideas include a children's museum, events center, park and educational cinema.
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