I appreciated your April 19 column (“Then just name it Board of Education Stadium”) regarding Greenway Avenue Stadium. First I applaud those individuals in the community who have worked so hard to raise the funds needed for the proposed project. Their hard work and dedication proves their love for high school sports and for the finest high school stadium in the state of Maryland. I agree with your assessment that the public has been bled dry when it comes to raising money for the stadium. I also agree with you that the burden for raising the necessary funds belongs to the Board of Education much like it did for the new field at Mountain Ridge.
I have to say that the follow up letter from Bob Gornall suggesting that we hit up the local politicos gave me a few ideas. Greenway Avenue Stadium was built by the WPA as a depression era stimulus project, so why was the renovation not included in requests for the current stimulus package? And when speaking of “local politicos,” the solution to the stadium funding dawned on me. Had the moronic electorate of District 1A not voted Speaker of the House Casper Taylor out of office and replaced him with a guy from Washington County, this dilemma would not exist.
Casper Taylor was the most influential politician in Maryland the day he was defeated. Cas helped on many projects for the local area. For example, the funding for the original FieldTurf came as a result of his hard work and political connections. The boat we are in with the stadium is a direct result of the defeat of Speaker Taylor. The citizens of Allegany County owe a great debt to former Speaker Taylor for his years of representation and that debt can be repaid with a simple gesture: Rename the stadium Casper R. Taylor Stadium.
Naming the stadium after Taylor will serve two purposes. First it will honor a man who spent the majority of his life working for the people of Allegany County. Secondly, it will develop an avenue of funding. Cas still carries a great amount of influence in Annapolis and the “politicos” and lobbyists would be glad to help make Casper R. Taylor Stadium a reality. The group that flocked to sponsor the Rocky Gap Country Music Festival are still friends of Cas and their support would jumpstart the fundraising to refurbish the stadium. Let’s make it happen.
On another note, let’s get real about the renovations at Greenway. We don’t need to tear down the concrete structure. Sure it’s aging but concrete lasts forever. The stadium would never be the same without that great structure anchoring the home side. We have world class masons in labor unions from this area who I’m sure we could count on to donate hours of labor, not to mention the first-class construction companies who could donate the materials.
While we’re at it, the visitors bleachers don’t need replaced. They aren’t falling down, so there is no reason to tear them down. Speaking of labor unions and construction companies, they could surely donate time and resources to help build a world-class fieldhouse at the scoreboard end of the stadium and renovate the press box. In addition, the construction trades students from the Career Center could spend one school year building a fieldhouse instead of a residential structure. I’m confident that we’d have to turn away some volunteers who would show up to work on the renovations.
Let’s stop talking about $1.75 million projects and get to work as a community restoring and preserving the greatest place to play high-school sports in Maryland.