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Memorial Stadium Renovation

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Former NFL player and Asheville High School star Leonard Little will announce today a $15,000 donation for a new scoreboard at Memorial Stadium. The check will be presented to Asheville City Council during its meeting at 5 pm in City Hall. Little is not liked in the community. He is one of those atheletes that got away with murder, only getting a slap on the wrist. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in 1998. It should be intresting to see how the community responds to the gift. Little was a defensive end for the Rams. His donation, along with a state grant, come as a shot in the arm for Memorial Stadium renovations and will benefit several sports teams. The Asheville Grizzlies, the Asheville Assault women's football team, the Asheville Splash women's soccer team and several youth leagues play there. Memorial Stadium is behind McCormick Field and was built in the 1920s to honor veterans who died in World War I. It was later dedicated to veterans of World Wars I and II and became home to the Asheville High Cougars and the Stephens-Lee High Bears. The city has received $248,800 from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The state grant and Little's donation will be part of the next phase of renovations at Memorial Stadium. The total project, which should be complete in two or three years, is expected to cost about $2 million. The city and other agencies raising money still need about $1.2 million to complete plans for Memorial Stadium and Mountainside Park, which includes the stadium and surrounding area.

Additional plans call for renovation of the picnic pavilion, a new soccer practice field, a fitness trail and playground, a new basketball court, new seating, a new press box, landscaping and a permanent memorial to veterans and war dead. The memorial will be located on a half-acre site at the entrance of the stadium and will include a garden and an area depicting war conflicts. Mission Hospitals will also donate a granite monument honoring veterans that is currently on the hospital campus.

The majority of money needed for the memorial will come from sales of bricks honoring veterans and soldiers killed in action. Bricks are available for $100 from the Department of Parks and Recreation.

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