Friday, May 11, 2007

What To Make of a Diminished Thing

David Hoggard has the latest lowdown on the city's plans to dismantle most of Greensboro's World War Memorial Stadium, which will cost over $1 million.

In a guest Op-Ed for the News and Record last October, I wrote,
For about the cost of single a loaf of bread bought annually for 15 years, the average Greensboro voter can keep faith with the 80 Guilford County citizens who gave their lives for their country, and preserve North Carolina's last living and active World War I memorial. Or voters can break that faith, and pay later to have the memorial demolished and hauled to the landfill.
Time for the $1 million landfill run.

Update: Brenda Bowers, in the comments says, "I tried to tell David and others what they must do to get what they want," indicating that all that was done to preserve the stadium (by Hoggard and me and others) was write blog posts.


Just to clarify: In 2002 our neighborhood hired a design firm to come up with this plan to renovate the stadium. We raised $20,000 to do so. We brought many people to several city council meetings to lobby for it.

When that failed, Hoggard and I and others served for two years on the committee that worked out the best potential uses, and then the best designs, for the stadium. We brought these recommendations to the Parks and Recreation board and to the city council.

We worked with A&T, Greensboro College, the VFW, and youth sports groups to lobby the city council to put the renovation project on the last bond referendum.

We worked with the Citizens' Committee for Greensboro to publicize the bonds in newspapers, on the radio, and on billboards. We met with neighborhood and community groups, we went on the radio, we distributed brochures and yard signs.

And we lost.

Anyhow, thanks for the advice, Brenda.

Earlier posts here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.


Anonymous said...

David, In this world one must fight aggressively for what one wants. You will notice that the city officals (Brown and Co.) want the city to purchase the Canada Dry property that is contaminated (to what extend no one knows), and at an over inflated price. You will have noticed how many turned out for this action at the last city council meeting. In my last post I tried to tell David and others what they must do to get what they want. It does no good to berate the public after the vote. Brenda Bowers

jimcaserta said...

From your op-ed a while ago:
"The soldier boys said they wanted no hollow granite, no useless monument to decorate our street corners, even no statuary or brass to remind us of those who have passed along after doing life’s full duty. But they wanted something that would be useful; that would help develop mind and body; that would in this way be a perpetual memorial to those who have passed."

In other words, the News & Record proposes that we replace the stadium with exactly the kind of "useless monument" that the veterans said that they did not want.

I doubt that the stands that are proposed to be demolished get much use these days, but the field does get a lot of use - A&T, Greensboro College, the collegiate wood-bat league, and the local Men's league. From your quote, it would seem to me more important to keep WMS a top-notch playing facility than keep seats around that would stand empty.

I can't speak to the concrete sections, but the wood sections down the left field line easily need to be removed, and they were probably an add-on anyway. Even with removing the yellow seats, the concrete will still serve as a sort of bleacher.

I don't think they've done any demolition on the DAP in Durham, but is in nowhere near as good a shape as WMS - for playing, which is a big part of its original purpose.

jimcaserta said...

Story of a stadium which has not been as fortunate as WMS

Anonymous said...

David, If you are going to put me in my place then please at least quote me correctly and on the correct topic. I sent you information last summer that I had gathered concerning monies that the downtown taxing district was getting from the county and city and suggested you might be able to do somthing of the same for the Aycock area. Then I mentioned it to David in the e-mail I sent him and he apparently shared with you because the War Memorial was in the Aycock district. Did you check out my post as I suggested? No, I didn't think so. August 18 and 21, 2006; and everything is referenced so you can check the facts for yourself. Just another one of those dirty little secrets the city council doesn't want the public to know about. Sincerely, Brenda Bowers

Anonymous said...


Aycock was the first "Municipal Services District" in Greensboro. We have been taxing ourselves an extra $.05 per hundred long before the CBD adopted the extra tax.

The local ordinance governing expenditures of our self-raised taxes preclude us from spending on anything outside of the MSD overlay. WMS is not within that overlay.

We have, however, been able to utilize some of that money for planning purposes that included the WMS area.


David Wharton said...


I have no recollection of you sending me any information. And if you want me to read something on your blog, you might want to, you know, link to it, since I don't know your blog's url.

Hoggard is right, Aycock has collected an MSD tax since the 1980s, and the money is used for improvements in the public right-of-way in the district. WWMS is not in the Aycock district.

The MSD tax in Aycock generates somewhat less than $20,000 per year, and a good bit of that money is alread encumbered for landscaping upkeep. With that budget, we'd be able to pay for the proposed demolition/stabilization of the stadium in about 100 years.

I don't know what "dirty little secret" you're referring to, since the MSD taxes in Aycock and College Hill recently went through a public hearing, as did the downtown BID.

So many opinions, Brenda, and so few facts.

David Wharton said...

Jim, thanks for the comment and the links.

I'm glad the stadium will still be used and that the facade will be stabilized. It will still be a functioning war memorial, though a much diminished one.

Anonymous said...

Many opinons yes, and many fact to go with the opiniuons Posts dated August 18 and 21, 2006