Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
Kannapolis and Rowan County officials have agreed to discard a proposed agreement dealing with ownership of Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium and start anew.
City and county officials met last week at the South Rowan Sheriff’s Office in Landis to try to resolve issues surrounding the stadium.
Arnold Chamberlain, chairman of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, said it was a very blunt and honest meeting.
“We didn’t agree on everything, but it was a really good start,” he said.
Chamberlain also emphasized that issues surrounding the stadium, particularly the equity agreement, need to be resolved.
“It has gone way past long enough to be settled. I believe Kannapolis understands that now,” he said. “It’s just a mater of both boards agreeing on how it will be settled.”
A proposed equity agreement drafted in 2005 puts the county’s ownership in the stadium at 75 percent based on spending $5.1 million in county funds on the stadium located off Lane Street in Kannapolis. It’s the home of the Kannapolis Intimidators minor league baseball franchise.
Kannapolis has a 25 percent share based on $1.7 million in city spending.
Chamberlain said both sides agreed that the existing proposed equity agreement contains major flaws and omissions.
“We all agreed that it is not good enough,” he said.
It’s also unclear who drafted the agreement, since “Nobody is accepting ownership,” Chamberlain said.
In April 2005 then-County Manager Tim Russell presented it to the Board of Commissioners, who gave it tentative approval. It was sent to Kannapolis for approval that never came.
Chamberlain, County Manager Bill Cowan and Jay Dees, the county attorney, met with city officials including Mayor Bob Misenheimer, City Manager Mike Legg and city attorney Wally Safrit.
Chamberlain said the group agreed that Safrit would bring back a list of concerns or changes the city wants in the agreement. County officials will then review the list and make their proposals.
One element of the agreement the county may want to get rid of is a provision to allow Kannapolis to increase its share of the stadium to 50 percent at a cost of $2.3 million. That figure is based on the original cost of the stadium a decade ago.
Another issue surfacing recently is the county’s decision to hire an appraiser to assess the value of the stadium and the surrounding 40 acres of property. The county has structured the contract so the information can be kept confidential and used in future negotiations for sale of the property.
The county has no immediate plans to sell the stadium or any of the 30 or so adjacent acres. But commissioners want to know the current market value as well as the likely future value of both the stadium and the additional acreage, which is between Moose Road, Lane Street and Interstate 85.
Chamberlain said the county has had one inquiry about the property, not including the stadium. He didn’t consider it a serious inquiry.
County officials have indicated they did not plan to share the appraisal information with Kannapolis.
During the meeting in Landis, Kannapolis officials asked to share the appraisal and suggested the $10,000 cost be taken from the sports consortium fund.
The contract for the appraisal is scheduled for a vote at the board’s meeting tonight but Chamberlain said commissioners may delay acting on the appraisal contract to discuss the proposal from Kannapolis.
City and county officials want to dissolve the Kannapolis-Rowan Sports Consortium, the legal entity which, on paper, owns and operates the stadium.
The City Council and Board of Commissioners created the authority in 1994. Both boards voted several years ago to dissolve the consortium, but apparently it still exists.
The consortium board hasn’t held a meeting in nearly a decade.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254 or