County manager: Kannapolis interested in buying Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
Rowan County apparently has a live prospect to buy Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium, the 14-year-old baseball stadium off Lane Street in Kannapolis.
County Manager Gary Page disclosed Monday night the city of Kannapolis is interested in buying the stadium where the Class A Kannapolis Intimidators play.
Page told Rowan County commissioners he plans to meet with city officials later this week.
The county and city have been at odds for several years over ownership of the stadium. The county claims 75 percent ownership based on paying 75 percent of the construction costs. Legal agreements on file show the city and county are equal partners.
The possibility of a buyer for the stadium came up while commissioners were discussing whether to sign a seven-year contract with Duke Energy to pay $1,719 per month for lights in the stadium parking lot. The cost includes electricity used as well as rental of the poles and fixtures.
Page recommending approving the contract, saying he felt it was something that needed to be taken care of before discussing sale of the stadium. He pointed out the baseball season starts next month.
Commissioners weren’t convinced. Commissioner Tina Hall said taxpayers can’t understand why the parking lot looks like “Christmas Town USA,” year-round.
Hall and Commissioner Chad Mitchell suggested switches could be put on the system to allow lights to be cut off when events weren’t being held at the stadium.
Mitchell questioned local Duke Energy official Randy Welch about the possibility of installing switches. Welch said it might be possible to install a switch to cut the system off for long periods, but not on a daily basis.
Mitchell noted the taxpayers of Rowan County are in the hole $5.7 million on the stadium.
The board unanimously approved a motion by Mitchell to table the contract issue until Feb. 16 to give Page time to talk to Kannapolis and to determine options on the lighting system.
Welch agreed to wait, but said Duke must have a decision by that date.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.