Mayoral candidates discuss future of Roberts Stadium

By Lorilyn Prestidge - bio | email 
Posted by Adam Thiele - email

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - As time runs out on Roberts Stadium, mayoral candidates are now starting to weigh in on what should be done with aging building.

The last UE basketball game will be held there this Saturday, and as the clock ticks down, candidates say we have to figure out what's next.

"This seems like the 800-pound gorilla in the room and now is the time to address it," Republican Lloyd Winnecke said.

One-by-one, that's what the 5 mayoral candidates are doing.

In press conference Thursday, Winnecke announced Mayor Weinzapfel's administration should appoint a task force to study the future of the stadium.

Winnecke wants a volunteer committee made up of residents, engineers, and financial experts to study the project for a year to decide whether Roberts has a better use or should be torn down.

"I think it's time the people's voice is heard on this.  There are a lot of ideas that are being floated. Some might be more viable than others but I think the important thing is that at the end of the day whatever is decided for that must be economically feasible for the city," Winnecke stated.

His Republican opponent, Douglas Degroot, is also in support of finding other uses for the facility.

Democrat Tory Tornatta says he'd like to reach out to private investors.

Democrat Rick Davis prefers it become a swimming facility.

"If we have a natatorium in Evansville, the high schools can have swim meets and draw teams form Southern Illinois to Western Kentucky," Davis says.

One thing all candidates agree on is Robert Stadium is an icon, but they say with millions of dollars invested and hundreds of thousand of dollars to keep it going, a proper use needs to be found.

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