It’s time to save War Memorial Stadium

About my op-ed column that appears in today’s N&R.

Since I started writing my bi-weekly piece six months ago, many people have asked, “Do they (meaning the N&R) tell you what to write about?“.  No, they don’t.  But sometimes, with a deadline looming and no idea what I’m going to say, I sure wish they would.

Today’s column, which is highly critical of the N&R editorial board’s non-endorsement of two upcoming bond items, might convince some skeptics of my independence-of-topic and that the key word in ‘free-lance columnist’ is ‘free‘.  I thank Allen Johnson & Co. for that freedom.

Here ya go…

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By David Hoggard


While I agree with the consensus opinion of the News & Record’s editorial board much of the time, sometimes they can be as shortsighted as your everyday, run-of-the-mill naysayer.

Take their recent non-endorsements of two November 7th bond referendums… please.  No… I really mean it, take them and use them to line where your cat defecates. 

Bad logic deserves such a fate.

The N&R derides the proposed $9 million dollar swim center as “clearly a luxury� which, they say, “will only target a relatively small, if passionate, segment of the population.�

Never mind the fact that the last time Greensboro built a new swimming pool was 50 years ago.  Lindley Park Pool opened in the year of my birth, 1955, about the time Rosa Parks decided she was going to sit wherever she damn well pleased on Montgomery’s buses. 

The N&R ignores the fact that the publicly owned facility will be charged with teaching unprecedented numbers of inner city children how to swim year-round.  In my book, learning to swim is hardly a “luxury�.

As with any public facility, some citizens will certainly utilize a new swim center more than others, but the whole of Greensboro will benefit from the sure-to-come influx of visitor supplied money that regional and statewide swimming events will infuse into our local economy.

But when it comes to raising my ire, this newspaper’s urging voters to reject the $5.5M bond to renovate War Memorial Baseball Stadium really caused my hackles to bristle.

Three years ago the N&R’s editorial department counseled Greensboro to reject a citizen’s referendum aimed at thwarting the construction of the new downtown baseball stadium.  They were at the forefront of taking War Memorial Stadium’s supporters to task for suggesting that the landmark would face an even bleaker future once minor league baseball left the facility. 

No one is talking about tearing it down.� were the comforting words from people who called preservationists “naysayers� while promoting the now-realized benefits of First Horizon Park. 

WMS New flag.jpgTurns out Allen Johnson and Co. were just waiting in the wings to put the final nails in War Memorial’s coffin.

In a nod to the historic stadium’s reason for existing, that being a WAR MEMORIAL, the N&R opines, “…service and sacrifice should not be forgotten — and need not be even if the stadium crumbles into dust, as it likely will at some future time… A monument preserved at that location or some other prominent place can serve the purpose just as well.â€?

Well, alrighty then.

The Vietnam Memorial in Washington will fall into disrepair at “some future time�.  When that occurs, we can count on the N&R to advocate for replacing all of that name-laden granite with a simple headstone.

When the WWII monument depicting the image of servicemen hoisting the flag of our fathers at Iwo Jima gets a little decrepit, I can envision N&R editorialists driving the dump truck that hauls it to the landfill.

Folks, despite what the N&R might have you believe there is no ‘Plan B’ for saving War Memorial Stadium.  It is November 7th or never. WMS Option 1

We have deferred important maintenance on this National Registry of Historic Places property for many years and – trust me on this – the place is crumbling.  A place of such importance doesn’t deserve the treatment we have given it over the decades and it is now up to us to reverse the ravages that time and weather have inflicted for 80 years.

Let’s finally renovate War Memorial Stadium.

This entry was posted in My N&R columns, Preservation, War Memorial Stadium. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Tom Hodgin
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    David have you reported on just what Jim Melvin thinks about the
    War Memorial Stadium bond ? after all, whatever he say’s is the way this town leans…


  2. Wayne R.
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I’m not a bit surprised. All of us “Naysayers” were certain that was what ALL of them were going to do.

    I don’t know how Allen Johnson can sleep at night.

    With that kind of leadership, and free Bully Pulpit from the Greensboro N&R, what else do you expect???

    And yes, thodgin, I have a good idea what Mr. Melvin will say….

  3. Mick Riggs
    Posted October 25, 2006 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I was disappointed but not surprised by the lack of support for the stadium and the pool complex. If these issues fail come 11/07, at least you guys will have further options though admittedly time is short. I dont think a major pool complex can get built w/o municipal involvement.

    AT least the N&R supports a new skateboard park! Talk about a single use facility with a limited user base.
    No offense to all the shredders out there.

    I dont know if skateboard parks are typically municipally owned across the country or not but I do know that stadiums and competitive pool complexes are almost always public facilities. Lets all hope for a little love in November! Do what you can…. Vote!

3 Trackbacks

  1. [...] David Hoggard’s take on local politics and life in general from Greensboro, NC « It’s time to save War Memorial Stadium Another take on the hypocrisy of the News & Record October 25th 2006 @ 6:10 pm Life in General [...]

  2. [...] Much has been written about the N&R’s non-endorsement of the $5.5M bond to renovate War Memorial Stadium.  Some have called them hypocritical.  I have called them illogical naysayers.  Others promisebreakers.  A piece in yesterday’s paper suggests that they simply don’t understand the issue very well. [...]

  3. [...] Support the memory of our troops. Hoggard has more. So does Wharton. [...]