November 26, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria Schools alumni interested in renovating Ely Stadium

Ely Stadium is in need on a new, updated scoreboard for football games. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Ely Stadium is in need on a new, updated scoreboard for football games. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — While Elyria Schools is getting a new $75,000 scoreboard for Ely Stadium, the addition has reinvigorated talks of improving the aging stadium.

School board member Mike Gebhardt told fellow board members Wednesday that he has been approached by a group of community leaders who are interested in leading a fundraising charge to replace or renovate the antiquated stadium. The 87-year-old venue, built in 1927 on land donated by William Ely, hasn’t seen any major repairs in years.

Building the field of dreams will not be simple or cheap, board president Don Boddy said.

“The school board is open to having this dialogue in the community because we know the need is there and frankly, it will take a community effort to get it done,” he said. “The district does not have the money to pull off a project of that magnitude.”

Boddy said the group led by well-known Elyrians like Bob DuPont, Terry Doan and Terry Shilling will be invited to a board meeting to present any ideas they have. It also would be the time the board explains what a new stadium would entail.

“They need to hear it’s a lot more than just putting down turf, which is real popular for some people,” he said. “There is a whole domino effect that would start more repairs. I am just guessing here, but I think we can say upwards of $5 million or $6 million for a full stadium project.”

Boddy said an all-weather field would have to be larger than the current field to accommodate a soccer field. That would lead to a new track, which would move the stands back. Rebuilding the stands also would mean rebuilding bathrooms, locker rooms and concession stands.

Superintendent Paul Rigda said groups have talked for years about fundraising for the stadium. These most recent talks are in the very early stages with no commitments having been made by community members or the district.

Still, Elyria alums haven’t stopped dreaming, especially after nearby Midview Schools received six-figure gifts leading to the dedication in 2012 of Ross Field in Adelsberg Stadium. DuPont and 1999 alumnus Doug Medvetz took to the crowd-sourcing website indiegogo.com in 2013 with the hopes of creating a groundswell of support.

That effort raised only $200 and has since ended, according to a tally on the website.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.


  • Sis Delish

    This should be interesting. In a City where Potholes, Foreclosures, Herion Busts and Low School Test Scores reign, a fundraiser for a new High School Football/Soccer Stadium is contemplated.

    Gotta have your priorities, I guess?

    And now, for the sad part. Imagine five year’s from now, the money is raised, construction is about to begin… and, “Mothers-against-high school-head-injuries” have influenced legislators that High School Football is too dangerous.

    Are you ready for four-quarters, 60-minutes, of Pioneer Marching Band formations?

    Good luck, alumnus.

    • Seeker

      As long as this is not placed on the Property owner or tax payers in general i don’t care what they do

      • Sis Delish

        Is the current stadium on Public or Private Land?

        • Pablo Jones

          Depends on how the land was donated.

  • 2Cents

    Gee, I think this is exactly what I said should happen in that first article about the sign — “alumni should organize fund raising and add the 16k from ABC for new sign.” No cost to taxpayers!

    Then if they want to spend the next decade or two raising the money for a new stadium . . . yea, good luck!

    Personally, I think if they aren’t happy with what they have, they should fix up the one they have. Fenway Park was built in 1912 and there’s no plans to replace it.

    • Des

      Fenway has also been meticulously maintained and upgraded since it was built. We all know we cannot say the same for Ely Stadium.

      I played 3 soccer games under the lights at Ely, attended countless football games, and Graduated there in 2002. It is exactly like the Old school was, dated and falling apart. People need to suck it up and look at the big picture. There is a reason I moved to Lakewood, because the community cares about its future and proves it by putting its money where its mouth is. I do not have children yet, but I happily pay taxes for the schools and sports programs. It is called investing in your community. I can actually hold a conversation with the kids in Lakewood. They don’t trash the city here. Why? Because the Schools have Arts and Sports programs. Because we have parks and programs to consume their time and energy, to promote their learning and growth. Our community invests in the children, and it repays us over and over.

      There is no community in Elyria, no common purpose. It is why we flee when we graduate, because our attempts to change and improve our town are met with overt hostility and bickering.

      You reap what you sow, and Elyria has been Fallow for too long

      • Seeker

        The mean income of those in Flakewood are probably double of those in Elyria Also.

      • 2Cents

        It’s good to hear an enthusiastic young man who wants to live in a city that thrives. Unfortunately the politics of Elyria have not changed in that city for as long as I can remember — and I am as old as the dirt under the stadium. As long as the people keep voting Democrat, the demographics will continue to move in the direction they have for the past 35-40 years. Without a business climate for companies to thrive, the city can not. “Fallow”, such a good word to describe Elyria — stagnant when other cities flourish.

        • Pete Veliconia

          This is why we have to start now-before it’s too late to save this city. We can do nothing and let the city deteriorate further or turn it around,one building at a time.

          • Seeker

            Get rid off all of the Democrat control and it will virtually turn its self around. Elyria Has been controlled by the Democrat party for decades , and well you see where the city is .

      • Pete Veliconia

        2cents and Des- would you be willing to help ?

        • 2Cents

          Well, I spent 15 years trying to get the Democrats in office to make Elyria more business friendly — that was 25 years ago!. Like soo many others you realize you need to cut your losses and move on.

          If you think you’re up to a challenge, I suggest you look (I am just saying, look) at what the opposing party has to say. There is a GOP in Elyria.

          • Pete Veliconia

            We would like your help in building a new stadium in Elyria

            political affiliation is immaterial as the kids in town are all our kids-it does take a village you know.

          • Joe Smith

            I would rather spend money on getting them a better education where it counts, going to play games is worthless if they can read and do basic math when they get out.

          • Pete Veliconia

            This is why we don’t want to use tax money for this- let the schools teach and we will do the stadium so they can focus on educating. Some of the kids have little to no support structure at home so the schools really have their work cut out for them.

          • Sis Delish

            Save your 2 Cents.

            The calcified environment of so-called leadership in that town will surely be its demise.

            The funny aspect of this is how it always returns to doing stuff related to High School–as if most of the so-called leaders of the community never quite graduated from that mindset. Yet, their offspring see it clearly and are first to fly away for better and brighter futures.

            Let them raise their monies for their new friday night hangout. Its all they got going, and it will remain that way in perpetuity, in my opinion.

            (Toss in an annual $40k for fireworks, too!)

          • 2Cents

            Yea . . . and with a clear model of success all around them you would think the decades of decline would result in a change at the voting booth.

            Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

          • Seeker

            Well look at the factors , Elyria has so much government housing and those people will always vote Democrat to keep the free hand outs coming. Then you Have all of the city Union workers that play the Good Ole Boy game and are always in bed with the Democratic controlled administration who will always vote to keep there Gravy train running. There are not enough Regular working people to vote them out. Until that changes , Elyria will continue to decline.

          • 2Cents

            It is the disadvantaged who habitually elect Democrats – yet remain disadvantaged.

          • Pablo Jones

            Elyria has what a 20% voting rate of the registered voters and only what 50% are registered. There is probably 5-8,000 voters in an election. It isn’t that the union members and those on the government dole prevent change, the GOP is just inept to running an effective campaign. Add in that those that do care about city government have already left and you are where you are.

          • Sis Delish

            What does that tell you about the folks who Do Vote? It’s like going to a Buffet and finding nothing you like.

          • 2Cents

            Pablo, you have detailed the likes of many struggling cites across the country. As you know, in many areas the media challenge is just too much for the GOP to overcome. Maybe it’s just too late to save Elyria, like the ten poorest big cities in American, all run by democrats. Who’s going to invest in a failing stock.

      • Sis Delish

        No sweat, you did the Right thing. Liberating, isn’ it, to remove yourself from a rudder-less ship?

      • FoodForThought63

        I’m not sure I could have said it better myself. Excellent post Des.