By Jessie Burchette
Rowan County commissioners are getting increasingly tired of waiting for Kannapolis to sign an equity agreement reflecting actual ownership of Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.
The county has tried for two years or more to get an agreement signed that shows the county owns 75 percent and Kannapolis 25 percent. The figures represent the investment in the stadium that was constructed in 1995.
All existing legal documents show that the city and county each own 50 percent. That changed when Rowan County had to pump more than $2.5 million extra dollars into the project to cover cost overruns.
Monday night, Chairman Arnold Chamberlain brushed off the latest potential delay by the city.
In an e-mail to County Attorney Jay Dees, Kannapolis City Attorney Wally Safrit wrote that the city needed to wait to sign the equity agreement until the county gets its comprehensive appraisal of the property. Thats expected in September.
The 75-25 equity agreement has nothing, I repeat, nothing to do with the appraisal of the property, Chamberlain said.
His comments came after the board gave tentative approval to a contract with Scott Robinson for a comprehensive appraisal.
Dees reinforced Chamberlains comments, saying that he has made it clear to Kannapolis that the finished appraisal wont be shared with Kannapolis.
Commissioner Jon Barber struggled to understand the delay. We need to make it clear to Kannapolis we want it done.
Dees suggested county officials show up at a City Council meeting and make their case.
Chamberlain appointed himself, Dees and County Manager Bill Cowan to a committee, vowing they will do what it takes to get the agreement signed.
And Chamberlain noted that city officials have previously said they would sign the agreement but it has never happened. He added that in dealing with the city council he has found them to be nice, reasonable people. I hope we can keep it that way, Chamberlain said.
Most of the discussion on the stadium involved the appraisal and valuation.
Under the agreement, Dees will employ Scott Robinson, a MIA appraiser for a fee of $10,000.
The appraisal will look at the current and future value of the property as a baseball stadium or other usage.
Dees said the information will be crucial in dealing with setting lease prices for Smith Family Baseball, the current tenant, and also in a possible sale of the property, or in possibly acquiring the citys 25 percent share.
Commissioner Jim Sides questioned some aspects of the contract including the $10,000 price tag.
Dees said it will be a major project and involve evaluating the value of the stadium in relation to minor league stadiums up and down the East Coast.
The board did agree with a recommendation from Sides to eliminate a clause to indemnify Robinson against any damages or liability.
By Jessie Burchette