Task force discusses the demolition of Memorial Stadium, reuse of site

December 10, 1997|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

With only four days to go before the last professional football game is played at Memorial Stadium, a task force met yesterday evening to discuss plans for the demolition of the 43-year-old tTC facility and the reuse of the 30-acre site.

Attending the meeting, chaired by city planning Director Charles C. Graves, were elected officials, community representatives and Ed Cline, deputy director of the Maryland Stadium Authority.

Though the city has not issued a request for proposals (RFP) on redeveloping the prized piece of property, which is surrounded by residential neighborhoods, state Del. Ann Marie Doory said she understood the city would rule out using the site for a strip mall.

Doory, a Baltimore Democrat, said the city was likely to consider a mixed use, such as single-family dwellings, an office complex or educational centers. Graves said he would like to see detached single-family homes to keep middle-income families with schoolchildren from moving to the suburbs.

He also told the group that while demolition is a foregone conclusion, the specifics -- such as timing, method and financing -- remain unresolved. "One of the things we have to address is the financing of the demolition."

Cline and others noted the state will bear the estimated $15 million to $20 million cost of demolishing the stadium.

Graves said he might wait to issue the RFP until the demolition funds are appropriated, "hopefully by the end of the [1998 state legislative] session" in April.

Another issue is "implosion vs. the wrecking ball," he said. In any case, demolition and clearance of the site would take at least a year and a half, planners said.

At the meeting, David Hopcraft, Baltimore Ravens director of community relations, said the team is interested in displaying Memorial Stadium's gold urn in the new football stadium at Camden Yards next year.

The urn is displayed behind glass near the stadium's main entrance and contains soil from military cemeteries around the world where U.S. soldiers are buried.

While the stadium has tremendous sentimental value to Baltimore as the playing field of the Colts, the task force also noted neighborhood security concerns about a vacant stadium.

"We can't leave a white elephant there," said Doory.

Pub Date: 12/10/97

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