The Salesianum School took back its offer to restore and manage Baynard Stadium, as questions about community use of the stadium have surfaced.
After Wilmington city leaders reached a tentative agreement to lease the stadium to the private school two weeks ago, council leaders said their community review process revealed some “deep community concerns about the current and future use of the stadium by community-based youth teams.”
Wilmington City Council President Theo Gregory and Council President-elect Hanifa Shabazz thanked Salesianum for its willingness to raise as much as $20 million dollars in private funding for the renovation, but council spokesman John Rago said the problems and concerns with the deal need to be resolved first, before the project is greenlit.
“The issues surrounding community use of the stadium and the cost to use the stadium will have to be dealt with regardless of the when the renovation funding issues are resolved,” said Rago, in a statement released today.
Gregory and Shabazz said Salesianum’s withdrawal of its offer leaves the review process in the hands of state Representative Charles Potter, who said that he will not only be able to find funding from the state for the renovation, but also ensure that community needs are met for its future use.
When the revitalization project was initially announced on Nov. 2, Salesianum leaders said all current users and other teams and organizations would be allowed to continue their use of the facility under the new leasing agreement.
“We look forward to assisting Rep. Potter and whatever form of a task force he is able to assemble to find future funding for the stadium which is in dire need of renovations,” Gregory said.
“The representative and others were clear in their position that more study was needed and now we have every opportunity to study the issue without delay and find the funding before the stadium’s structural problems worsen,” Shabazz said.
Much of Baynard Stadium is in disrepair. It was last renovated 44 years ago.