It is difficult to find a sound reason for not supporting the proposed football stadium for R.J. Reynolds High School at Hanes Park.
There is plenty of room for a stadium on land that the school system owns and the bulk of the money for the project is being raised privately by supporters of the project. Case closed.
We can understand the feelings of those who live around the area. No one wants to be crowded and have green space compromised, and Hanes Park is arguably our city’s most lovely public facility. However, there are other communities that have to deal with such intrusions all the time. It comes with the territory when you’re trying to make accommodations for growth and progress.
Bowman Gray Stadium is in a residential area, as are the stadiums for Carver, Atkins and many other high schools. Unfortunately, not all of us can have a nice green park to look at every day. Some folks have to look at long-closed factories, broken down and dilapidated houses, old garages, fire stations and the like.
Also, it is not like Hanes Park is an area for a serene solitude. With the White (formerly Central) YMCA branch, Wiley Middle School, Brunson Elementary School and Reynolds’ gymnasium already adjacent to the park, it is not like the stadium will be out of place. If residents near Hanes Park are fretting about safety, they should not be. Having a stadium there would pose no more danger than having the Y and the schools nearby. Proper lighting and policing should keep disturbances to a minimum.
Reynolds is a first-class high school and deserves to play its home games in a stadium of its own. Other high schools have stadiums. Why shouldn’t Reynolds? We hope the City Council and School Board work with all those involved to clear a way to make the stadium a reality. Elected officials should not base their decisions on how many emails and phone calls they receive from both sides. They should think of the kids and all that Reynolds High has meant for this city.