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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.