Stadium offer may be pulled Commissioners will consider next step in dealing with Kannapolis
By Jessie Burchette
County officials may be a step closer to going to court with the city of Kannapolis over ownership of Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium in Kannapolis.
Rowan County commissioners are scheduled to consider withdrawing an equity agreement offered to the city earlier this year.
County Attorney Jay Dees, who has met with Kannapolis officials, is recommending that the Board of Commissioners officially retract the offer until the board determines “whether the agreement is in the best interest of the county.”
The agreement includes a provision that Kannapolis could repurchase 25 percent of ownership in the stadium at a cost of $2.4 million.
Some Kannapolis officials are now apparently taking the position that the city owns 50 percent of the stadium.
In February, after a discussion at the board’s retreat, Chairman Arnold Chamberlain signed a copy of the agreement and sent a copy to Kannapolis after city officials had assured the county they would sign it. Since that time, city officials have said the agreement needs to be redrawn.
Under the existing legal documents that date to 1994 when the county and city agreed to build the stadium, the city and county are each 50 percent owners.
After the original agreement was signed, the financing plan changed. An effort to raise $1.5 million in private donations failed. The cost of the stadium grew from an estimated $4.5 million to $7.6 million.
According to the final accounting by the county, private donations totaled $664,000, leaving the county and city to share the $6.8 million remaining costs of the stadium.
Rowan County provided $5.1 million of the total costs, with Kannapolis providing $1.7 million.
Based on the accounting, the county determined that the county has contributed 75 percent of the funding, while Kannapolis has contributed 25 percent.
Since the stadium was constructed in 1995, the county has taken care of maintenance and all other associated costs, using some funds from the stadium rental as well as county tax dollars.
In July, commissioners voted to hire someone to do a comprehensive appraisal of the stadium and the surrounding 40 acres of land near the intersection of Lane Street and Interstate 85.
The appraisal is expected to provide information on the current value of the property, future value and value of the stadium in terms of the lease value.
Commissioners also rejected an overture from Kannapolis to share the cost of the $10,000 fee so Kannapolis would have access to the appraisal.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioners meet at 4 p.m. Monday in the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Meeting Room, County Administrative Offices Building, 130 W. Innes St.