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St. Augustine's Hosts Open House To Smooth Things Over With Neighbors

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A neighborhood turf battle in Southeast Raleigh has pitted homeowners against St. Augustine's College.

The cause? The college made plans to build a 5,000-seat football stadium many of the neighbors didn't want.

On Saturday, in an effort to smooth things over, St. Augustine's hosted the Falcon Community Day -- an open house designed to sell the school to prospective students and to neighbors.

"They didn't take into account the impact [the stadium] was going to have on our neighborhood," said Skip Elsheimer, a homeowner in Southeast Raleigh. "They really tried to downplay that without talking to the neighborhood."

At times, the debate over the stadium has been heated.

St. Augustine's hopes the open house will help smooth things over.

"This is an opportunity to say, 'Yes, we are going to have to grow. We are going to push the boundaries a little bit. But we want to do so with the best welfare of all the constituents,'" said Dr. Dianne Boardley Suber, President of St. Augustine's College.

These neighbors include Elsheimer, who recognizes that a strong college means a strong neighborhood.

"We'd like to give help, input," Elsheimer said. "This is kind of a start for a really great partnership."

Raleigh City Council members approved a 2,500-seat stadium for St. Augustine's College. But the school is now looking at possibly sharing a stadium off campus that would be built by St. Augustine's College, Shaw University, and the City of Raleigh.

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