Rally for Roberts

By Kendra Yagow - bio | email  
Posted by Kelsey Wheatcroft - email

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - There were a lot of ideas but no real answers at a rally on Sunday to save Roberts Stadium.

A small group of Evansville residents, who don't want to see Roberts Stadium torn down, gathered in the stadium's parking lot to rally support. They say they have been left out of the decisions regarding the future of the building, and want to take control of the facility if the city doesn't want it anymore.

However, what is still not clear, is a plan for making this all happen.

The support group says the option of closing Roberts Stadium would be a waste of money.

Rally organizer Brenda Bergwitz says, "Roberts Stadium is paid for, lock, stock, and barrel. It should be up to the people of Evansville to decide whether it's torn down or not."

Bergwitz believes the facility has a future. She, and a few others at the rally, offered suggestions on how the aging stadium could be used. She says it could be kept open by the community and rented out to non-for-profit agencies for their events.

When 14 News asked what the yearly upkeep would cost citizens, Bergwitz couldn't answer. We also wanted to know about ideas the group might have, for raising enough money to keep the facility open, and again, did not get a sure answer from her.

University of Evansville basketball coach Marty Simmons knows the ins and outs of Roberts Stadium. The Purple Aces have used the facility for decades, and will leave the building with mixed emotions.

Simmons says the building itself doesn't make Aces basketball. The challenge now will be making the new arena feel like home.

"We have to take all of our great memories, because that's what Roberts Stadium has been for me and my family, and a lot of families in the Tri-State area."

Simmons says change might be painful, but in this case, it's good, especially for the recruiting opportunities it will bring the university.

"Young players today, they're looking for all the whistles and bells. They want to play in nice venues, and a $130 million state of the art facility is nice."

Supporters told 14 News they understand that in addition to paying to keep the facility open, they would first need to handle maintenance repairs. They don't have an estimate on those costs.

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