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Town of Leland Statement Clarifying Baseball Development Status

Leland Town Hall

The Town is responding to misinformation expressed in public comments and social media regarding the Town’s position on a potential baseball stadium.

The Leland Town Council has not made a decision or taken any action to approve or deny a stadium or the proposed development associated with it. The Town was presented with a proposal to potentially bring minor league professional baseball to the area. Like any other opportunity that is presented, the Town is taking the necessary steps of due diligence to correctly consider it. This is the same process the Town would take with any opportunity, and what the citizens of the Town should expect from good governance.

In the spring, the Town, in association with Brunswick County, initiated a financial feasibility study to determine if the Jackeys Creek development could support the cost of the stadium. The results of the report were presented to the Council and public in October. The report, in its simplest form, says the Jackeys Creek development, in and of itself, will create sufficient tax revenue from real property within the proposed development and sales tax from the population living within the proposed development to cover the cost of the stadium in the long term. It does not consider property or sales tax from anyone or anything outside the boundaries of the proposed development. It does not detail the mechanism necessary to utilize those proposed development tax dollars for the stadium. It does not address the short-term financial requirements of the proposed stadium. It does, however, outline some next steps that will help to make a better-informed decision and further define the feasibility and viability of the stadium.

The overall cost of the stadium and its impact on surrounding neighborhoods is affected by where it is situated within the proposed development. The Town has discussed this with the property owners to consider other locations in their preliminary planning processes. They have indicated they are willing to consider alternate locations which could potentially lower the overall cost of site improvements and lessen the impact of sight and sound to neighboring properties.

The Town has not entered into any contract negotiations with the entertainment/baseball organization nor the property owners. The discussions have been very high level about the concept of the stadium and what it could offer the Town and region. These details and negotiations will come in future steps in the process.

Whether a stadium is appropriate for Leland, or any stadium is truly viable for any city in the U.S., is yet to be determined by the Town. Some say that all stadiums are boondoggles and an undue burden on taxpayers, yet there are more than 200 such stadiums in the U.S. The Town wants sufficient time to investigate these for itself, rather than prematurely dismissing a potential opportunity.

In the spring, Brunswick County issued this statement regarding the potential baseball stadium. To the Town’s knowledge, the County has not released any other public statement on the matter.

A large portion of the property where the development is proposed is not currently within the Town’s jurisdiction, although the property owners have voluntarily petitioned for annexation. More importantly, the property is located within the heart of the Town and the Town is interested in helping to shape what type of development will ultimately go there. The Town wants a development that will complement the neighboring properties, adhere to the tenets of the Leland 2045 comprehensive plan, create a sense of place, and potentially be transformational for the Town. A development of this magnitude takes years, possibly even decades, to plan and build. The potential positive and negative impacts will not be realized in the short-term.

The Town encourages citizens to engage in its public processes and to have civil discussions regarding the stadium. There appears to be both support and angst for the idea of a baseball stadium and the development in general. There also appears to be a lot of opinion expressed as facts and other misinformation about the Town’s positions and actions. The Town encourages everyone to seek the true facts by reading the feasibility study report and viewing the Town Council meetings.

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