A new Greensboro park?

The group of people known as the War Memorial Stadium Task Force (Wharton) met for the fifth time this past Monday, and you need to know what came from that meeting.  I really need a visual to explain how the plans for War Memorial Stadium and surrounds are coming together, but lacking a pretty picture for now, words will have to suffice.  Here’s some background…


The city owns a surprising amount of contiguous acreage in the vicinity of the venerable stadium.  There is the excellent War Memorial tennis complex, the stadium itself, the Smith Building, the old VFW and the very popular Greensboro Farmer’s Curb Market.  Each of these facilities has their own parking areas and open spaces, and in case you didn’t know it, all of them are connected by Muddy Creek which runs parallel to Lindsay Street where it disappears under the stadium’s left field only to re-emerge again before going under Yanceyville Street.  The creek appears again next to the Curb Market before winding its way down to Murrow Boulevard.  A pristine trout stream Muddy Creek is not, but it is an underappreciated ‘water feature’.  The entire 12+ acre holding is divided by an over-capacity four-lane no-man’s land known as Yanceyville Street.   Now hang with me…


As they currently stand, all of these facilities present themselves as a mish-mash of disjointed, sparcely landscaped, city-owned properties that serve various recreational and other civic functions.  Sitting near the confluence of predominantly black east Greensboro, NCA&T’s ever-expanding campus, Bennett College, the burgeoning Central Business District, and many of the city’s historic neighborhoods - this area has long served as a rare common ground where Greensboro’s citizens of all makes and models rub elbows.


What we on the task force are now looking at is to re-invent, redifine and unify the context of where the stadium has stood since 1922.  We are envisioning War Memorial Stadium to be surrounded, not by a parking lot, but by a park.  A new inner city park.  My pet name for this proposal is The Common Grounds.  We expect to have the whole proposal ready for the 2006 bond referendum.


Envisioned within this new park will be a rebuilt, lower capacity stadium that will retain the facility’s quirky ’backward J’ footprint and the historic facade.  Although it will be configured mainly for its continued use as the best amateur baseball stadium in the region, it also will see use as a venue for intimate concerts if some of us on the committee have our way. 


The Task Force is looking at softening the edges of the whole complex.  Walking trails will connect the area with Action Greensboro’s proposed city-circling Center City Greenway at Murrow Boulevard, an expanded Farmer’s Curb Market in the model of Charleston’s City Market, stone bridges over Muddy Creek, perhaps some bocce ball or croquet courts behind the stadium’s outfield, a reduced-capacity-tree-lined-pedestrian-friendly Yanceyville Street park entrance.  The parking area in front of Memorial Stadium would become a softened and pleasant area previously dubbed “Veteran’s Plaza”.  Lots and lots of trees and public greenspaces throughout the surprisingly expansive ‘Common Grounds’ would transform the area from an eyesore into an inviting destination.


I’ll provide some conceptual drawings of the park planning as soon as I can get my hands on them, but I’m telling you this idea has captured my imagination.  It is going to be wonderful if we can just get it paid for.

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  1. By Ben on July 17, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Ben…

    That demands significantly further diversity in fly types. Nymphing…