The Seattle School District may give up the Memorial Stadium in exchange for a nearby block, where a parking garage is currently located, and a smaller stadium/amphitheater the city would build on the site of the Memorial Stadium parking lot, according to a Seattle Times report.
This proposed Memorial Stadium agreement was presented to the Seattle School Board on Thursday, and will be brought to City Council this week. It deals with the fate of the 62-year-old sports arena located at Seattle Center, which was deeded to the School District in 1946 for the building of a memorial stadium to honor the students that gave their lives in World War II.
For years this stadium has hosted high school football games, but recently these games have not drawn nearly enough on-lookers to fill the 12,000 seats. Meanwhile, the city has been trying to obtain the stadium and open up four acres of public space in the heard of Seattle Center for decades. Seattle Times reporter Linda Shaw wrote,
As part of a 20-year plan for Seattle Center approved last year, the city proposed replacing the stadium with a two-level underground parking and a transit hub, capped by a “great lawn” and a smaller facility that, with the use of removable seats, could be used as a stadium for 5,000 people, or an amphitheater for up to 12,000. It would be built on what is now Memorial Stadium’s parking lot.
If the deal were to pass, the district would retain ownership of the Memorial Stadium parking lot, leasing it to the city for 60 years around $2 million to $3 million a year — an amount the city believes would make up for lost parking fees and part of the value of the stadium.
However, controversy has arisen over the city’s proposal to tear the stadium down, as many war veterans say this would dishonor those the stadium was built to remember. And in addition, some members of the school board are reluctant to give up their ownership of the space, after earning just 12 percent of the proceeds off the sale of Queen Anne High to a condominium developer.
Read the full Seattle Times story here. We’ll keep you posted as this plan develops.