Financial Impact of the Site Adjoining Hanes Park
- 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 Jan. 2019, after eight 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. A signed Memo of Understanding is on record to safeguard taxpayers, however, it appears the stadium project intends to proceed in flagrant disregard of the MOU.
- Traffic Congestion A critical artery in the Business-40 shutdown, Northwest Blvd is currently absorbing re-routed interstate traffic during highway project construction. The additional traffic congestion has caused a noticeably negative impact on our already over-burdened neighborhoods during interstate bridge construction.
- Emergency Access Hindered The site in question is along one of the main emergency routes from East/West communities to Wake Forest Medical Center along Northwest Blvd and Hawthorne Rd. Construction traffic and staging area could potentially disrupt and congest traffic along the emergency routes. Congestion from cars, buses and crowds surrounding the stadium would negatively impact emergency vehicle access.
- Parking Problems Hanes Park is at capacity and cannot absorb another large venue for organized sports. Provision for parking is already 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.
- Few Students Benefit The proposed stadium project would serve a few students while diverting funds from academic programs that serve all students.
- Exclusive Use The stadium has been designed to serve a special-interest group, not the needs of the citizenry as a whole. Its walls and fences would exclude anyone not directly involved in Reynolds athletics. Donors would be promised exclusive access and rights not allowed to all.
Environmental Impact of the Site Adjoining Hanes Park
- Access to Hanes Park Blocked Current plans for Wiley gym and the RJR stadium would block safe pedestrian access to Hanes Park and impede citizens’ use of their public land.
- 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 were designed as components of Hanes Park and are integral to its 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.
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.” However, school board members have decided to approve the stadium plan despite Home Field Advantage’s failure to raise the funds as promised.
School Board projects do not require any public hearings or public process, but citizens may attend meetings.