A new working group will review the future of Wilmington’s Baynard Stadium and makes recommendations on its use, maintenance and management within 45 days.
Mayor Mike Purzycki appointed 11 people to the group which will be led by Wilmington Parks & Recreation Department Director, Kevin Kelley.
Purzycki says no real resolution was reached about what’s next for Baynard after Salesianum’s offer to invest in the stadium last year was pulled after receiving some community criticism.
“There was an offer made, it was considered for quite some time, I think there was broad support for it but in the end there were some people who raised questions who simply were good faith questions and they never were satisfactorily resolved – and that’s what we’re trying to do here today," Purzycki said.
Some who raised questions – like Wilmington City Council members Nnamdi Chukwuocha, Ernest “Trippi” Congo and State Representative Charles Potter – are among those on the working group.
They worried that giving Salesianum control of the stadium would limit underserved youth groups’ access to it.
Purzycki adds while it’s not uncommon for the city to hand over public parks to the state for upkeep – he says Baynard is different.
“But we do have some parks and public facilities such as Baynard that will require a tremendous amount of money going forward to keep them up to the standards that people would want of our public facilities," he said.
And it’s still unclear who will foot the bill for upgrades; the last update to the 94-year-old stadium was in 1972 – and it is in need of millions of dollars in repairs.
Below is a full list of working group members:
· Desmond Baker – Principal, Desmond Baker & Associates
· Raymond Bivens – Delaware State Director of Parks and Recreation
· Nnamdi Chukwuocha – Wilmington City Council Member, 1st District
· Ernest “Trippi” Congo – Wilmington City Council Member, 2nd District
· Demetrius DeRamus Sr. – Youth Football Coach/Organizer, Laborers International Union of North America
· Charles “Bud” Freel – Wilmington City Council Member, 8th District
· Earl Jeter – Principal, Jeter and Johnson, LLC
· Kevin Kelley – Wilmington Director of Parks and Recreation (Chair)
· Karla Levinson – Attorney , The Levinson Firm and a resident of the Triangle Community
· Tom Ogden- Deputy Chief of Staff, Mayor’s Office
· Charles Potter – State Representative, 1st District