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westsider28

Duncan Park Stadium Renovation

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I wasn't sure which thread to put this in (maybe it deserves its own thread), but it's an intriguing development.  While running this morning, I saw this sign at Duncan Park:

post-24605-0-22014200-1376252518_thumb.j

 

This is great news!  Now, I'm sure it won't be anything transformative.  But at the very least, stopping the deterioration of the stadium will go a long way toward its preservation.  And maybe sometime in the future, funding can be found for a full renovation to attract college baseball tournaments, etc. 

 

A lot of vegetation has already been cleared (comparison of a few weeks ago and today):

post-24605-0-50689200-1376253568_thumb.j post-24605-0-23826000-1376253560_thumb.j

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Very nice! I worked there in the ticket booth one long ago summer - good times!

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I moved these posts to their own topic. I actually thought that we had a thread on this already. If I can find the older posts then I will move them here as well.

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The joint is a POS and should be razed. Why oh why would Wofford or Upstate leave their cozy new digs to play at this awful, awful field?

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Are you kidding me?!  Duncan Park is one of the oldest surviving baseball stadiums in the United States, with tons of history.  I presume that you thought the DuPre House should have been razed, too?  Seeing how that's been brought back to life, I'm glad you're not making the decisions about these important pieces of our community's history.  We've lost too many historic structures already.

 

As far as college play goes, I'm not suggesting a permanent tenant (as the local colleges have fine facilities).  I'm suggesting eventually using it to host a USC vs Clemson game, an early-season multi-team tournament, or perhaps the SoCon tournament like they've done at Flour Field.  Duncan Park is a neutral field, close to downtown, with a greater seating capacity than any of our local college's stadiums.

Edited by westsider28

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Are you kidding me?!  Duncan Park is one of the oldest surviving baseball stadiums in the United States, with tons of history.  I presume that you thought the DuPre House should have been razed, too?  Seeing how that's been brought back to life, I'm glad you're not making the decisions about these important pieces of our community's history.  We've lost too many historic structures already.

 

As far as college play goes, I'm not suggesting a permanent tenant (as the local colleges have fine facilities).  I'm suggesting eventually using it to host a USC vs Clemson game, an early-season multi-team tournament, or perhaps the SoCon tournament like they've done at Flour Field.  Duncan Park is a neutral field, close to downtown, with a greater seating capacity than any of our local college's stadiums.

I understand the history. But it is not downtown, made of wood and would cost the city and/or district seven millions of dollars to renovate and maintain. There are many reasons why places like Wofford, Greenville, Greenboro NC, Atlanta, etc build new stadiums (not only baseball). Just do not see hosting something like the SoCon tourney when you have state of the art stadiums competeing.           

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I understand that total renovation is a long-shot, but similar projects have been done.  Just look at the Durham Athletic Park.

 

But regardless of my personal hopes for the stadium's future, the exterior is being renovated by District 7.  To what degree?  I don't know.  But at the very least, the stadium will survive and will continue to host high school games (and American Legion games).  And I'm happy for that.

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There is a reason the Cubs are spending $500 million to renovate Wrigley Field no matter how old it is and how much history (mostly bad) is has. I had this same argument about 3-4 years ago on these same boards about the same topic. I was in there the last time USC played Wofford there and as I said, its a POS no matter how old and how much history it has. Plus the location could not be worse. Even if some idiot poured the $7 million into it to renovate it, where are your bars and restaurants like Fluor Field & the DAP have going to come from?

 

IMHO, its really a bad fire hazard and if it did happen to catch fire it and most of Duncan Park would go up in smoke. Losing the park, trails, and woods would really be a tragedy.

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The stadium itself should be preserved. I think the arrangement the City and Dist 7 have to renovate the facility is great. High school, college and semi-pro teams can continue to play there like they do today. A new stadium in the heart of downtown somewhere would be much better for the city in terms of economic development. I think it's probably a matter of time before Spartanburg jumps on that bandwagon... we just need to get buy in from a 1-A team. It may be a challenge with Greenville, Gastonia, and Asheville all having teams nearby.

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Renovation work is well underway at Duncan Park.  Old, rotten wooden siding has been removed, the steel roof supports have been repainted (white), and it looks like some of the bench seating may have been replaced.  Good to see the progress here.  The paint alone makes a big difference.

 

Here are some photos (the first is an old photo from January, for comparison):

post-24605-0-75042800-1384398820_thumb.j post-24605-0-51400700-1384398823_thumb.j post-24605-0-23858100-1384398826_thumb.j post-24605-0-24213000-1384398829_thumb.j

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Another new and inventive way for District 7 to waste money.

 

Here's a novel idea, why not save time and money and play on campus. Its not like we have ever been worth a crap in baseball anyway. Why drive 5 miles out of the way to play in a POS, ancient, multi layered paint 90 year old ballpark?

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I bet you it costs less to renovate that stadium building than to buy land and build a new one.

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There is already one in place at the high school so you'd be wrong on that account. Sure it doesn't seat 3K like Duncan Park but SHS has always sucked a$$ in baseball for so long what does it matter?

 

Am I the only one here that thinks this is an insane waste of tax payer money by District 7? There are spending 500K so kids can play on a 90 year old ball field that they are going to have to be bussed over to for practice and games vs just walking out the back of the school and onto the field. Dorman, Broome, Byrnes, Boiling Springs, etc do this, why is that SHS requires something on this scale?

 

Please someone, anyone give me a logical explanation for this.

Edited by Sparkleman

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There is already one in place at the high school so you'd be wrong on that account. Sure it doesn't seat 3K like Duncan Park but SHS has always sucked a$$ in baseball for so long what does it matter?

 

Am I the only one here that thinks this is an insane waste of tax payer money by District 7? There are spending 500K so kids can play on a 90 year old ball field that they are going to have to be bussed over to for practice and games vs just walking out the back of the school and onto the field. Dorman, Broome, Byrnes, Boiling Springs, etc do this, why is that SHS requires something on this scale?

 

Please someone, anyone give me a logical explanation for this.

For sure, school districts in South Carolina are profligate when it comes to monies spent on athletics and athletic venues.  I'm really torn on this one because I wish there was another way that Duncan Park stadium could be renovated without using public funds.  But we all know that's not going to happen. 

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There is already one in place at the high school so you'd be wrong on that account. Sure it doesn't seat 3K like Duncan Park but SHS has always sucked a$$ in baseball for so long what does it matter?

 

Am I the only one here that thinks this is an insane waste of tax payer money by District 7? There are spending 500K so kids can play on a 90 year old ball field that they are going to have to be bussed over to for practice and games vs just walking out the back of the school and onto the field. Dorman, Broome, Byrnes, Boiling Springs, etc do this, why is that SHS requires something on this scale?

 

Please someone, anyone give me a logical explanation for this.

 

Where is the stadium or field at the high school?  i know about the two soccer fields, the track and field, and the field across the street, but can't remember a baseball field.  And to clarify, you're for spending thousands to save Berry field, but not Duncan park?

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Well when I went to SHS back in the 80's there was a baseball field because I played on it. There was also one there in the early 2000's because I saw a friend's son play on it. I haven't been by recently, but I assume its still there. The outfield was shared by baseball & football practice fields.

 

As for Berry Field, fixing it up would cost a lot less than the $500,000+ they are throwing at Duncan Park and they're is a good chance it might make some $$$ for the city if fixed. There's no chance the Vikes make any money for the city in baseball.

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Spartanburg High School did a major reconstruction of it's athletic facilities a few years ago.  Because of the contract they had with the City to play baseball at Duncan Park, they decided to focus on having soccer/lacrosse/football fields on campus.  Here's what the facility looks like now.  Before the reconstruction project, SHS only had one field which they would've had to use for baseball and softball, and it had very limited seating.

 

Duncan Park is older, larger, and more historic (former home of minor league team for years, 21000 fans at 1936 American Legion World Series vs LA, Yankees exhibition game in 1937 with Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio, has seats from Shibe Park / Connie Mack Stadium in Philly, etc) and much more deserving of renovation and possible future tournament and event use (with more $$$ potential) than Berry Field.  Besides, Berry Field is owned by the county, and doesn't have anything to do with this conversation about Duncan Park.

 

Here's a link to the H-J article about DP renovations (if you can get past the paywall).

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While I think that comparing the preservation of two different baseball stadiums is relevant, I'll do my best to keep my comments on Duncan park.  That being said, I drove around the entire area yesterday and it broke my heart. 

 

If I were to say that there is an area with a great stadium area, 2 other baseball fields, tennis courts, lake, bike trails, walking trails, it would be concieved that it would be a high dollar area.  Instead, it is a "low rent" bad section of town.

 

Duncan Park and Cleveland Park (yes I know there is another thread) should be great opportunities for our city and not areas that we should avoid. If renovating the stadium helps, then I'm all for it.

Edited by hub-city

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It just seems like a monumental waste of money to me that will never be seen again. In fact with the yearly upkeep tacked onto this project, it won't break even in my lifetime.

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Any stadium will have upkeep costs.  No high school sports facility, high school sports team, or school in general makes a profit.  Any money schools spend is "never seen again"; at least not directly.  That's not what it's about.  The money is spent to give kids the opportunity to play sports, which instills in them important values  (teamwork, leadership, perseverance, sacrifice, using time wisely, making good decisions, etc) that will help them become successful in the rest of their life (so that they make money, aren't a burden on society, etc). 

 

In this case, the money spent has the additional positive benefit of maintaining an irreplaceable, historic part of our city.  And I would think the kids would appreciate the opportunity to play in a place with so much history and where many professionals (including legends of the game I mentioned earlier) played.

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Given the lack of space at Spartan High, it would cost an exorbitant amount of money to create the land needed to build a stadium from scratch. The other option they have is to build a new campus somewhere else to create the space for athletic facilities that the other high schools have - also very expensive.

 

I think there is a ton of value in using public funds to invest in Duncan Park Stadium. The City of Spartanburg has not had any funding to make the needed repairs in my lifetime, and based on the track record probably never will. By partnering with District 7 to reinvest in that park, the City can leverage its limited funding to help the park, and Dist 7 can take the money that it was going to use for a baseball stadium anyway and invest it into something that benefits everyone. Duncan Park is a true community and cultural asset. It is the oldest minor league ballpark in the nation, and it needs to be preserved at all costs. Losing that piece of history would be truly devastating for Spartanburg.

 

I'm not sure what it is about Spartanburg and people not caring about local history, but given the limited resources that the community in terms of both money and history, I think we should all be extremely thankful that our ballpark isn't going to rot away like most of our historic mill buildings have.

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Given the lack of space at Spartan High, it would cost an exorbitant amount of money to create the land needed to build a stadium from scratch. The other option they have is to build a new campus somewhere else to create the space for athletic facilities that the other high schools have - also very expensive.

 

I think there is a ton of value in using public funds to invest in Duncan Park Stadium. The City of Spartanburg has not had any funding to make the needed repairs in my lifetime, and based on the track record probably never will. By partnering with District 7 to reinvest in that park, the City can leverage its limited funding to help the park, and Dist 7 can take the money that it was going to use for a baseball stadium anyway and invest it into something that benefits everyone. Duncan Park is a true community and cultural asset. It is the oldest minor league ballpark in the nation, and it needs to be preserved at all costs. Losing that piece of history would be truly devastating for Spartanburg.

 

I'm not sure what it is about Spartanburg and people not caring about local history, but given the limited resources that the community in terms of both money and history, I think we should all be extremely thankful that our ballpark isn't going to rot away like most of our historic mill buildings have.

 

Not to be totally negative here, but how would losing Duncan Park Stadium be truly devastating to Spartanburg? I have been here my whole life and can count my visits to the park to be maybe around 20 and certainly not any since USC last played Wofford there some 12 years ago. There was a time when Duncan Park was important when the Phillies were here and traditional ballparks were the norm. That changed and the Phillies moved on to a better stadium deal in another town with more amenities and more $$$.

 

Unfortunately Duncan Park really just sits in a bad location and there's no real draw to go over there. It would be different if it were like Wrigley Field or Fenway Park (2 other toilets by the way and I've been to both) and sat in the middle of town but it doesn't. What I really don't understand though is the thinking by SHS to get rid of the baseball field in the first place. The correct decision to me would have been to use Duncan Park for soccer instead as its a much bigger draw these days. However that's another argument for another day as understanding the way District 7 thinks and acts is hard to figure.

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It's nothing personal, but I think that kind of attitude is representative of many folks in Spartanburg, and that's why we don't have very many historic assets left. Why preserve an old mill building when it sits in a crappy old mill village that nobody goes to? Why keep the Hotel Franklin? Why keep anything historic at all?

 

Duncan Park Stadium and the park and neighborhood itself are quintessential examples of early 20th Century neighborhood design, architecture, etc. I don't know why ballparks were built in the middle of neighborhoods, but they were. Most cities have torn theirs down (ie: Charlotte) and regret it. If you lose something unique, you can't just replace it with a new one. Converse Heights is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Spartanburg for many reasons, and one of them is its historic charm. Hampton Heights is another great example of an historic neighborhood that has been/is being revived. Over time, Duncan Park will be viewed similarly, and I can guarantee you that if the ballpark were allowed to be razed, it would be regretted for generations.

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Just making conversation here, but we have many historical assets left. The problem is they just sit vacant and deteriorate and eventually catch on fire in many instances. Look at Drayton Mill for example. Sure its still standing, but what are you going to do with it? You might can turn it into lofts, but who's dying to live in that mill village? You could turn it into a textile museum, but who'd go? Also I grew up in Converse Heights and can tell you a number of reasons why I will never move back: 1) lack of water pressure, 2) no walk in closets, 3) faulty wiring & plumbing, 4) small bathrooms, etc. Sure if you have plenty of cash these things can be overcome, but a lot of these things take time/money to fix that folks don't have or think about before they move in. Its stylish to live in the "Heights" but actually living there is a pain.

 

I am not against history at all (note I own a 66 Ford Mustang), but if you don't have a plan to preserve it what good is it. There is no way I'd spend 12K to preserve my stang if it needed it. Which is why I am taking the stance that 500+K to redo Duncan Park stadium so a high school that's 3 miles away can play there sounds ridiculous. You think District 7 taxpayers got to vote on this? When we get to vote on board members, it'll be too late by then.

 

Trust me: if Duncan Park were razed about 5% (if that) of the Spartanburg population would give a crap. Most folks wouldn't even know it was there were SHS not trying to restore it.

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Just making conversation here, but we have many historical assets left. The problem is they just sit vacant and deteriorate and eventually catch on fire in many instances. Look at Drayton Mill for example. Sure its still standing, but what are you going to do with it? You might can turn it into lofts, but who's dying to live in that mill village? You could turn it into a textile museum, but who'd go? Also I grew up in Converse Heights and can tell you a number of reasons why I will never move back: 1) lack of water pressure, 2) no walk in closets, 3) faulty wiring & plumbing, 4) small bathrooms, etc. Sure if you have plenty of cash these things can be overcome, but a lot of these things take time/money to fix that folks don't have or think about before they move in. Its stylish to live in the "Heights" but actually living there is a pain.

 

I am not against history at all (note I own a 66 Ford Mustang), but if you don't have a plan to preserve it what good is it. There is no way I'd spend 12K to preserve my stang if it needed it. Which is why I am taking the stance that 500+K to redo Duncan Park stadium so a high school that's 3 miles away can play there sounds ridiculous. You think District 7 taxpayers got to vote on this? When we get to vote on board members, it'll be too late by then.

 

Trust me: if Duncan Park were razed about 5% (if that) of the Spartanburg population would give a crap. Most folks wouldn't even know it was there were SHS not trying to restore it.

 

 

"Who cares"? is the attitude that most folks have when someone proposes that historical structures be restored.  But after the restoration has been completed, most people are amazed and really begin to start appreciating what was almost demolished.  In Spartanburg there's the Memorial Auditorium, Old Main at Wofford, the Schuyler Building, the downtown airport terminal building, the Palmetto Building on Main Street, the Dupre House, and so on.  Gosh, who out there doesn't regret the loss of the Andrews Building, the Franklin Hotel, the Cleveland Hotel, etc.  Sure, some of these were restored with private money but there's been a lot of public money invested too.  I guarantee you that a week after Duncan Park is demolished, there will be someone out there, the same someone who whines that all Spartanburg does is tear down things, wishes that something had been done to restore the place. 

Edited by Spartan
Moved post out of the quote box

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