The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022

Eggerss Stadium: past jewel, future gem

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of articles detailing the plans to renovate Eggerss Stadium.

John White/special to the VW independent

Mudbowl 2021. This could be used to describe the playoff game between Van Wert and Rossford this past Friday at Eggerss Stadium. Other descriptive words I’ve heard include quagmire, saturated, soggy, swampy, and mucky. If you happened to see the players’ uniforms after the game, the picture would be crystal clear.

What Eggerss Stadium will look like if voters in the Van Wert City School District approve a May, 2022 bond issue to renovate the historic downtown stadium. Photo submitted

What can we do about potential field conditions that can contribute to the outcome of contests or even prevent events from happening at all? A custom synthetic turf field would be a great solution. A turf field is just one of the pieces on the table to make iconic Eggerss Stadium a state of the art place for a wide variety of events. Today’s turf is nothing like the early versions made back in the day. Turf fields have evolved to be durable, designed for performance, are firm and fast, all with player safety in mind.

Wouldn’t that be great for football games? Sure. But there are a host of other opportunities to use a 3,200 seat stadium with a turf field.

“As our community evolves, our venues need to as well,” Stadium Committee co-chair Eric McCracken said. “Eggerss Stadium having turf will be a great surface for all sorts of sporting events but also for community events.”

Community is such an important part of this statement. The list of how we could use Eggerss Stadium with a turf field is only limited to our imagination.

A few things come to mind including music concerts, hosting of regional cheer, band, and dance competitions, movie nights, start/finish for running events, youth soccer, football, and baseball events, corporate and team building, reunions, partnering with events in Fountain Park, etc. Imagine an event planned for a Saturday with two inches of rain on Friday. No problem! And, the economic benefits will be nothing but positive. Getting people to Van Wert and our stadium means more business for our hospitality sector, be it restaurants, hotels, and other local business.

But will a newly renovated stadium be maintained? If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it hundreds of times. We build things but don’t properly maintain them. The Van Wert City Schools administration and the Board of Education certainly have and are committed to maintaining this future investment. Not only does the community expect it, they also deserve it. How can we guarantee this for the entire complex? Solutions start with a plan. An athletic maintenance fund is established with funds specifically earmarked for this purpose. It will include an annual budget for preventive maintenance. Funding may come from many sources such as donations, grants, and reverse raffles but a primary source will be naming rights on various parts of the complex. These rights will generate revenue year after year providing a steady source of funding to keep the stadium complex fresh and up to date.

So much for discussing a turf field as part of the renovation plans of Eggerss. Another area to talk about is parking. It’s worth a conversation and rightfully so. Some of the most iconic venues in the U.S. are in or near residential areas. Wrigley and Lambeau fields come to mind. And there are no plans to relocate these fields. It can be a challenge for us too, although on a much smaller scale.

What can we do? The school administration, Board of Education and the stadium renovation committee have been discussing this issue and believe we can add up to 125 additional parking spaces in close proximity to the stadium. More discussions on the specific details will be taking place, but this addition would certainly compliment the hundreds of spaces that exist around and within just a few short blocks of the stadium today.

Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks about other features to be part of the stadium renovation.

The Van Wert community has been so fortunate to have such a jewel as Eggerss Stadium downtown for more than 85 years. Let’s get behind this effort to renovate it and make it a gem for generations to come. Eggerss Stadium and Van Wert: Unique and United!

A view of historic Eggerss Stadium in 1936. With the expection of no press box, this shows the stadium is largely unchanged.

POSTED: 11/02/21 at 10:39 pm. FILED UNDER: News