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A stadium is an investment

Published: Sun, October 23, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

A stadium is an investment

Anyone who thinks that having a home stadium is an extravagance hasn’t spent an hour in a cramped school bus traveling to an away football game. Especially on a cold and rainy night, when the only thing that makes the ride home bearable is a win.

Still, away games are part of the deal: Central Tech plays at Sunny Shores Academy this year; next year, it is the other way around.

Unless your football team represents the Youngstown City School district; then just about every game is an away game and even the few home games that get worked into the schedule are played on neutral territory.

A school district that once boasted two excellent facilities — Rayen and South — that over the years played host not only to the City Series, but to Youngstown University and YSU teams, now has no home field.

While all around the city, suburban districts have upgraded their facilities and in many cases installed artificial turf, Youngstown’s football players — and perhaps, someday, girls and boys soccer teams — have no place to call home.

Rectifying this is not going to be easy or cheap. But it is fundamentally wrong to relegate Youngstown’s athletes to second-class status.

Athletics are only a part of the overall scheme of educating children, but for some it is over arching. Participation encourages students to stay in school and to maintain their grades. For countless young people, their coach becomes the most important person in their academic lives. We may wish it were an English teacher or a music teacher, but the reality is that no one can reach down into a kid and pull out the best in him than a good coach.

For that reason — among others — we hope that the initiative announced last week by Youngstown Superintendent Connie Hathorn — himself a high school and college athlete — is successful.

The district has $1 million in construction funds needed to get the ball rolling, but to develop a facility worthy of the Rayen name and the students who play there will be a challenge.


1NoBS(2763 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Back when Youngstown City Schools had and used both South and Rayen Stadiums, there were also six high schools - North, East, South, Chaney, Rayen, and Wilson - and two parochial schools using them. There was an actual City Series that only required a couple of other games to fill out the season. Now, with one high school (that has an athletic program), what's the point? The school district is struggling financially, and emphasis must be put on academics (also struggling) ahead of athletics. If money was no problem, yes, they could use a stadium. Money, however, IS a large problem, and priorities have to be established.

Do we send out kids to school for an education, or for the football program?

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2Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Let's make Youngstown proud once again and generate jobs in the hoods . The logical place to start would be on the SouthSide . A new stadium could be built after the prosperity returns . Restore pride to the SouthSide and build the stadium there .

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3ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

How about we make a deal?

When Youngstown can meet the academic standards and reduce dropout rate to less than 10%, then we'll give you meatheads a playing field.

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4georgejeanie(1494 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

There is YSU Stambaugh Stadium sitting there empty 95% of the time come people in charge get creative. All you people know is keep on spending money you do not have. Fiscal constraint is need in these tough economic times and spending on a stadium in Youngstown should be a the bottum of the list. In sure the bottom feeders are all for a new sTADIUM BECAUSE THEY PAY NO TAXES TO BEGIN WITH.

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5walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm no bottom feeder. I'm a former city footballer that sees the need for a new facility to play sports such as this. While Stambaugh Stadium is a wonderful facility, it is too large to use for a typical high school game in our area. If you put 2000 to 3000 people in that stadium, it looks empty. But a smaller stadium to be used by the East team and the junior high schools would be a good idea and hopefully provide a shot in the arm for Youngstown. I am contributing a donation.

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6livevalley(23 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Maybe a stadium is a good idea but the problem is it will not last. Everything that goes up in the city threw the schools is destroyed. Look at East even now, has anyone been threw there. Still nice but there has been WAY to much damage already. Seems the middle schools are holding up so far but who knows for how long. That Rayen stadium was fixed a couple times and then it was damaged again. Its a great hang out for trouble and leaving a stadium unprotected will be a mistake. Start first with teaching the intercity kids to respect then build a stadium. One bad apple makes the bunch go bad!

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