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Archive for April 17th, 2010

What to do with War Memorial Stadium

I read with interest John Hammer’s analysis of the planned ‘renovation’ of Greensboro’s 83-year-old War Memorial Stadium.

It seems to me that Hammer doesn’t think the stadium should undergo some type of full-scale renovation as much as he thinks the city should just clean the damn place up and slap on a fresh coat of paint, which would cost a lot less than plan currently being floated, which would tear down a good portion of the stadium.

From my point of view, the renderings look pretty good. Then again, renderings always do. I dare say not many amateur baseball venues would feature classic arches like War Memorial Stadium. As for the dramatically reduced seating, I can’t imagine there will ever be amateur baseball played in War Memorial that will draw substantial crowds; the powers that be will direct such events to New Bridge Bank Park in order to justify that stadium’s status as driver of economic development.

Hammer floated a variation on David Hoggard’s suggestion earlier —- turn the stadium over to Greensboro Coliseum director Matt Brown and make it outdoor entertainment venue that Brown wants so bad for the Canada Dry property:

Brown, with limited money, has done far more to clean up the Canada Dry property in a few months than the Parks and Recreation Department has done for Memorial Stadium in five years. If Memorial Stadium were given to Brown to manage, he would find a way to fill it up. It might be with outdoor concerts. He might have an outdoor circus.

….There is $1.3 million available to fix up the stadium. Brown was going to build a brand new amphitheater for less than $500,000. With World War Memorial Stadium he would have much more to start with than a hole in the ground. There is no telling what he could do with $1.3 million and an 84-year-old stadium.

For starters, that idea just makes too much sense. Second, Greensboro’s leaders —– along with their media partners—- are going to do everything they can to make the amphitheater happen in order to justify the coliseum, which —yippee!—–didn’t lose as much money for the sixth year in row.

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