WMS and that ‘vision thing’

Update: Here’s a 2008 video report from WXII.  Nothing much has changed since then.

Indications are that Tuesday night’s City Council meeting might be interesting in regard to the Staff and P&R Commission’s recommendation of spending $1.3M to demolish War Memorial Stadium.  Some on Council might be concerned about their legacy.  The prospect of having their names embossed on the obligatory bronze plaque that would be attached to whatever the finished project ultimately looks like is a pretty hefty thing to bear. 

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The question: Will that plaque name those who oversaw the destruction of Greensboro’s history or commemorate the decision to preserve the structure for generations to come?  We’ll know more soon.

Meanwhile, the renderings here are more like where we should be headed…

Scheme 5 – Estimated to run $3.8M – seeks to expand the Farmer’s Market across Yanceyville Street and create a new “City Market” within the confines of the old stadium footprint.

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With covered individual seating (which would be salvaged from the Coliseum) for 1500, this plan includes accomodations for multiple useages: An outdoor amphitheatre, team locker rooms, public restrooms, concessions, a catering kitchen, the City Market, and – not to forget – a pretty damn fine baseball field.  Many of the activities could occur concurrently.

My argument has been all along that it is an imperitive for the stadium be re-configured to attract the largest possible crowds.  I’d estimate that since minor league baseball left WMS five years ago, less than 1% of Greensboro’s citizens have had any reason to enter the stadium and, so, probably don’t give a hoot about what happens to it or what it looks like.

And to that, I can think of no one better to fill the place up and utililize it to the fullest than Coliseum manager Matt Brown.  I’d even go as far as to suggest that, since it is a War Memorial, that the old stadium be removed from the authority of the Parks & Rec commission/department and handed over to the War Memorial Commission and the Coliseum staff.

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Everyone realizes that we don’t have all of the money right now to do the place justice, but we do have the money to get started.  Here’s what I suggest we do with the $1.3M we currently have in hand. (Estimates are from the architect in charge)

Renovate the grand entrance (est. $275k):  Everyone agrees that this feature should remain.  Fix it.

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Create the “Plaza” connector to the Farmer’s Market (est. $150k): Making the approach to the stadium more inviting will spark interest and give it some dignity.

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Demolish the structure down third base and create terraced open space (est. $120k): Nearly everyone agrees that this part of the structure is superfluous, deteriorated beyond repair and  needs to go.  Get it gone.

Then stop right there and spend the remaining $700k somewhere else. 

Despite N&R editorial suggestions to the contrary, the stadium is not in any danger of collapsing.  Sure, there is some loose concrete, but I’d imagine another $100k would repair that well enough for another 10 – 12 years of public use.  Baseball can still be played there and we could try the place out for small concerts in its current state.

There is currently $1.3M earmarked for the “renovation” of War Memorial Stadium – under Scheme 6, $550k of that amount is to go towards the complete and unnecessary demolition of the entire stadium bowl.  That is is simply wrongheaded.

This entry was posted in Aycock Neighborhood, Greensboro Politics, Preservation, War Memorial Stadium. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

9 Comments

  1. Doug Spencer
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    David – get me in the loop on this – make a presentation to HPC and let’s see what we can do. Your biggest fan, Doug Spencer

  2. Bert van
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Nailed it. You are right on with this, destroying it makes no sense. Thanks David!

  3. Greg Porter
    Posted April 18, 2010 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    David,

    Well said as usual. The ballpark is one of our treasures and once destroyed (as so many other landmarks have been) a part of the fabric and history that makes this great city so unique will be lost with it. Many organizations use these facilities today and, with the appropriate upfit, even more would in the future.

    Intriguing idea of having the coliseum manage the park. It could provide the amphitheater many want to see built. As a bonus it would be close to downtown, the new downtown greenway, and the A&T athletic facilities which are hosting more and more world class events.

    Keep up the fight until the bitter end and perhaps Council will come around to your lucid plan.

  4. Betsey Baun
    Posted April 18, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    David, you couldn’t have presented the ‘case’ better. The challenge will be to get any of council members to actually read and consider an alternative.

    If our comments, opinions and suggestions during the task force meeting last Monday regarding the most recent proposal (#6) weren’t able to influence the Parks and Recreation Commission’s decision, I frankly have no hope that our council members will review Option #5 and consider a multi-step plan to make it happen.

    Option #5 was created last fall just before the new council was seated. This option would leave the city with a space that would not only serve the Greensboro sport community but offer other citizens all kinds of reasons to return to the War Memorial Stadium including city market and a small concert venue.

    Regarding baseball at the stadium: two important points were made about Option #6 during the task force meeting.
    #1. There would be no canopy over the seating resulting in no shelter for commentators and media. In addition, fans will be pitching their own shelter for shade and shelter during inclement weather.
    #2 Option #6 offers a field with a few bleachers and no locker room whereas Option #5 provides a stadium, a benefit for college recruiting.

    One last note: The name would have to be changed under Option #6. Alas, the War Memorial Stadium would no longer be a stadium.

  5. Posted April 18, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Thanks for keeping us updated and giving us another perspective on War Memorial. We need to get over there and feature War Memorial. A few weeks ago, we were at the Farmers’ Market and on older gentleman was sitting, waiting for his family to finish shopping, and he started telling us about his year and memories of working at Yankee Stadium. So many stories to be told; so many new memories that could be made.

    Jan
    GDP

    p.s. Hope your business is still strong and that your family is well

  6. Robbie Perkins
    Posted April 18, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like the plan that Parks and Rec voted on last week and will speak against it on Tuesday night. I believe we should focus on option #5 and take our time and make it happen rather than proceed as planned just to “do something.” Treasures in Greensboro are created by good plans that will stand the test of time. We need more special places in our city, and this will be one of them if we execute option #5.

  7. Posted April 19, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    #5 sounds like a great idea to me too, fwiw.

  8. Mick
    Posted April 19, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m a #5 guy too! I will contact my council persons andf the at large as well.

    Thanks David
    Third base must go….. Say it aint so!

  9. Posted April 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Bravo, David.

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  1. [...] Hoggard wasn’t just suggesting; he comes right out and says War Memorial Stadium should be turned over to Greensboro Coliseum director Matt Brown to create a [...]