Environmental Impact of the Site Adjoining Hanes Park (updated October 2017)
- Open Green Space Reduced Urban green space, an endangered civic resource, would be severely and permanently diminished. Hanes Park and the Wiley hills currently offer all citizens an un-programmed green space and a waterway rich with diverse species of trees and birds, close to downtown.
- Park Vistas Destroyed The park’s pastoral nature would be diminished by the scale of proposed adjacent structures and pervasive noise. Wiley School and the R. J. Reynolds gymnasium was designed as components of Hanes Park and are integral to the historic plan. R. J. Reynolds High School vistas were designed to complement Hanes Park.
- Waterways Contaminated Runoff and pollution would contaminate Peter’s Creek and potentially flood neighboring fields.
- Trees Lost Mature trees, not only on the project site but also along Hawthorne Road would be sacrificed. The loss of these stately old-growth trees would drastically diminish the park-like character of the area.
- Project Costs The original proposal was that Home Field Advantage would be responsible for all project costs including the necessary demolition and reconstruction of the Wiley gymnasium. The Wiley gym project has since been funded by a public school bond. No estimate of updated costs to build and maintain the proposed stadium have been presented.
- Maintenance Costs Taxpayers must take on the expense of operation and upkeep of the proposed complex.
- Potential Additional Taxpayer Burden As of fall 2017, after five years of effort, Home Field Advantage has fallen far short of fundraising goals. A previous private fundraising attempt for the renovation of Reynolds Auditorium fell short. Taxpayers were burdened with the unpaid debt. Taxpayers should not be burdened with a shortfall again.
- Emergency Access Hindered One of the main emergency routes from East/West communities to Wake Forest Medical Center is Northwest Blvd (via Hawthorne Rd). Congestion from cars, buses and crowds surrounding the stadium would negatively impact emergency vehicle access.
- Traffic Congestion Already slated as a critical artery in the Business 40 shutdown plan, Northwest Blvd is expected to absorb re-routed interstate traffic during years of project construction. Any additional traffic congestion would cause a horrific impact on already over-burdened communities during interstate bridge construction.
- Parking Problems Provision for parking is inadequate for the number of public venues in Hanes Park. Events in the park often coincide with one another. A stadium event could bring 2,000 cars into the streets and neighborhoods surrounding the park. Hanes Park is at capacity and cannot absorb another large venue.
- Few Students Benefit The proposed stadium would serve a few students, diverting funds from academic programs that serve all students and burden Wiley students for at least three years.
- Exclusive Use The stadium would serve a single interest group, not the needs of the citizenry as a whole. Its walls and fences would exclude anyone not directly involved in Reynolds athletics.
Ultimately, this is a School Board project. They decide whether to proceed with the project and how to allocate funds. Theo Helm, spokesperson for the schools, said “Our board has informally told them [stadium backers] that if you can raise the money for the stadium that they will approve a plan to put the stadium together.” School Board projects do not require any public hearings or public process, but citizens may attend meetings.