Stadium needs aid

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Memorial Stadium hasn&8217;t felt like &8220;home, sweet home&8221; in a long time.

Capacity crowds don&8217;t fill the stadium on Fridays and Saturdays.

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A decrepit, crumbling faade with chipping paint and rusty signs greet patrons outside the main gates.

Bathroom toilets that are spot painted yearly and cleaned daily do little to cover up the fact that they look like something right out of the 1940s.

A checklist that covers more than $1.29 million in renovations will go a long way to remedy that, however.

The city currently holds the 3A sectionals as well as the AISA state track meet. Selma High, Central Christian Academy and Concordia College play there on weekends during football season. Between that, youth league games, high school graduations and numerous other events stretch every resource in the stadium.

The seats and press box, lighting and sound systems, concession areas, bathrooms and tennis facilities are all due for a major overhaul. Work is also being planned to update bathrooms, lighting and the sound system at neighboring Bloch Park.

But that all hinges on the passing of an $11.7 million bond issue set for vote Feb. 26. Money received through the bond will be repaid through property and auto taxes.

The money will be used to improve or build new infrastructure all over the city. The $1,291,412 set aside for the recreation department is the third-highest allotment among 20 listed areas in the proposal. That excludes $25,000 in work planned for the city marina, which Reece&8217;s office also handles.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the stadium is the plumbing. Reece said he is budgeted for $7,500 to maintain 40-year-old terra cotta pipes. Breaks and leaks are common, even under normal use. There is a yearly budget of $16,000 for building repairs, but that normally goes completely toward repairing the stadium&8217;s lighting system.