The Atlanta Braves had hopes of moving its Class-A affiliate, currently operating in Lynchburg, Virginia to Wilmington, North Carolina in time for the 2015 season. However, N.C. voters overwhelmingly voted "no" during Tuesday's election to raise property taxes to pay for a proposed ballpark. Without the $37 million in taxes to build the a stadium along the Cape Fear River, the move is on life-support.
The goal was to create a brand new state-of-the-art ballpark like the other Braves affiliate programs currently use. The team reached an agreement with Mandalay Baseball Properties to operate the team, and had agreed to six-month negotiating period with officials from Wilmington.
Wilmington mayor Bill Saffo was confident the vote would be close – but was caught off guard when a resounding 70% of those voting cast their ballots against the referendum. Saffo had this to say about the ordeal:
“The opportunity came knocking at our door at a time when citizens were worried about government spending,” Saffo told the Wilmington Star News. “They’ve spoken very clearly. We will not pursue baseball.”
The Lynchburg branch of the Braves franchise is the last remaining piece in the organization's aim of having top-tier facilities for every level of play. In the meantime, they'll continue to play at the 73-year old City Stadium in the heart of Lynchburg.
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