Lynchburg, VA - Years of football games and soccer matches have done a number on City Stadium in Lynchburg. Both Heritage High School and E.C. Glass use the facility. But, now there's serious talk in City Hall of giving it a makeover. Tuesday afternoon, City Council poured over its capital improvement list, which this stadium is listed on.
To be clear, we are not talking about the Hillcats Stadium; we are talking about the football field next door to the baseball diamond.
Coach Chip Berry walks up and down City Stadium like it's his own home. That's no surprise, over three decades, he's coached many E.C. Glass sports on this field. And just like many of our homes, Coach has got a list of things to fix up: "Bathrooms, locker room facilities, handicap accessible facilities," said Coach Berry.
Both E.C. Glass and Heritage use the stadium. And the city's Parks and Rec. department runs it. But, City Stadium was built in 1939 and, unfortunately, its real age is starting to show around every corner. Parks and Rec. admits the space needs work: The press box has hardly any technology; the PA system needs a tune-up; the scoreboard is a little rusty, and the bathroom, well, would you want to go inside?
Coach says during thunderstorms, 30 football players have huddled in the small bathroom space to stay out of the rain. And, forget a real locker room of their own.
"Many times even our football teams have to dress at a school or on a bus," said Coach Berry.
"The facilities at the stadium are becoming almost unusable," said Kay Frazier, director, Parks & Rec.
Kay Frazier runs Parks and Rec. The department has drafted very early designs for the new stadium. In the coming weeks, City Council will figure out if it can pony up $7 million to get the job done.
For Coach Berry, a new City Stadium is long overdue.
"Not a good situation," said Coach Berry.
Once again, City Council poured over its Capital Improvement Budget Tuesday. That whole budget is just north of $37 million, and City Stadium would cost $7 million. But, Parks and Rec says that it's a huge community asset we need to put to good use.