Better late than never.
That may be what High Point leaders hear themselves saying to each other in January when the Guilford County Board of Commissioners takes up an issue that the board tabled in 2017.
On Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 the Board of Commissioners voted to put off a decision for “60 to 90 days” on whether or not to approve a financial package that would help High Point pay for its then unbuilt $30-million plus baseball stadium in downtown High Point.
The stadium was built, but it was done without any help from the county.
Many High Point leaders were angry because the county never even officially discussed the matter again despite the High Point leaders’ arguments that the stadium would be a central component in a giant downtown revitalization that would greatly increase the value of the county’s tax base.
An agreement was never reached but, at that time, High Point officials asked for the county to provide the city with only the increased property tax revenue for the area around the stadium for about a decade. They argued that it really wouldn’t cost the county anything because, without the stadium there, the county wouldn’t get those increased tax values, and subsequent revenue, in the first place.
Some estimates at the time put the value of that proposed package at about $11 million, but no deal was ever reached.
The disagreement created a division between High Point and Guilford County that in some ways is still evident – but this week, Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston, who’s expected to be elected the new chairman of the board on Tuesday, Dec.7, said the board is going to take the matter back up in January and he added that he fully expects the county to finally provide some help for High Point on that project.
It’s not clear if that help will be a version of the benefits package discussed three years ago, but it will be amazing to many that county help for the project – help that was written off completely years ago – is now back in play and is highly probable.
In 2017, Alston was a strong advocate of Guilford County providing High Point with the stadium aid. However, at that time, a majority of the board didn’t favor the move.