Council Gives First Approval To Fund Baseball Stadium

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - City council gave the first approval to fund the more than 30 million dollar project with a 4-3 vote.

There was much debate among council members about how the city is going to foot its part of the bill.

Hardball Capital the company out of Atlanta that would bring a minor league team to the Midlands would pay six million dollars, Bob Hughes the developer of the Bull street project will pay three million dollars and the city would pay about 29 million dollars.

The concern with some council members is that the 29 million from the city would be paid by with hospitality tax bonds.

With that in mind Councilwoman Leona Plaugh and Councilman Moe Baddourah believes that that would create no funding for a rainy day fund or will cut money from those who receive the hospitality tax.

Mayor Benjamin says that's not the case.

"We will not use water and sewer funds, we will not use general fund dollars, we will not reduce the critical services like public safety, we will not reduce funding to those who receive hospitality tax dollars, we will not increase taxes," said Benjamin.

"We are depending on that egg to produce more chickens for everyone to benefit from. That is not reasonable, everyone has waited long enough to get the buildings that they need in Southeast Park, in Hyatt Park, in Hampton Park, whatever park we need. My point is we waited long enough for the quality of life to begin and now we are investing all of our money on one basket to a man from Atlanta and Greenville," said Baddourah.

Council members Plaugh, Baddourah and Devine all voted against the funding.

The final vote will be at councils meeting on March 18th .


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