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Wednesday, Apr 23rd

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Preferred site emerging for Wilmington ballpark?

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Carolina League

A prominent Wilmington (N.C.) family may offer a large parcel of land off Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway as the site of a new ballpark for an Atlanta Braves-owned Carolina League team.

We reported on Monday this site was emerging as the leading location for the $35-million ballpark, which would be built by private developers and managed by Mandalay Baseball Properties as the home of the relocating Lynchburg Hillcats (High Class A; Carolina League). Today the Wilmington Star News's Shelby Sebens is reporting the Cameron family, which owns large tracts of land from Kerr Avenue to 23rd Street along the parkway, may be offering free land to the city for a ballpark. A rep from Cameron Management didn't deny the rumors, instead saying all would be made clear when the firm sends a formal letter to the city.

This area is one of five identified as a potential ballpark site by National Sports Services. The debate, we expect, will be between those who envision a lovely downtown waterfront ballpark -- one where the land costs will be at least $6 million -- and one in a more mundane setting, but one where the land will be free and with more potential for associated development. In a virulently tax-averse city like Wilmington, it will be hard for the local elected officials to walk away from an offer of free land.

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