Local News

Local Stadium Scuffle Pits College Against Community

Posted September 4, 2003 9:38 a.m. EDT

— A stadium scuffle is brewing in Raleigh. There is a proposal to build a new football and track complex at

St. Augustine's College

, but not everyone is cheering.

Saint Augustine's officials say the project will benefit both the college and its neighbors, many of whom worked or went to school there. But the ties that bind the college to the community are being stretched thin by the stadium proposal.

Saint Augustine's is playing football again after more than 30 years away from the game but the Falcons do not have a stadium to call home. Neither does the school's world-renowned track team, which has produced Olympians like gold-medalist Antonio Pettigrew.

The college has announced plans to turn an empty lot into a 5,000-seat football and track stadium.

"Athletics bring a community together," said St. Augustine's track coach George Williams. "It brings people together, and it would be great to have this showcase for the city of Raleigh."

The stadium would be surrounded by 57 homes on North State Street, Glascock Street and Delaney Drive. Mary Sharpe's home is one of them.

Sharpe went to Saint Augustine's, but she does not want the stadium in her back yard.

"Our yards will be used as easy access to get to the stadium," she said. "We might not be able to get in and out of our own driveways during this time."

A traffic study estimates that 1,200 cars would come to the stadium on game day. College administrators acknowledge traffic could be a problem, but say they will do what they can to help.

"We're prepared to put into place whatever it takes, to ensure that residents are inconvenienced as little as possible," said St. Augustine's President Dr. Dianne Boardley Suber.

Saint Augustine's would like to break ground in October or November. The stadium plans have to be approved first.

City leaders say a public hearing probably will not be held until late October. Residents may have a lot to say at that time.