With as popular as the stadium was during the festival at Sandpoint, the new bleachers were competing with the musicians themselves for the attention of the people. When asked in a survey, around 58% people said it was a good idea, mainly because of the safety hazards that the old ones provided. “I thought it was time for something new, glad that ended up that way” one person added.
However, the new stands weren’t favored by some, around 25% of surveyed people answered no. Most of the surveyees said that it was because of the nostalgia that went hand and hand with the old bleachers. They are planning on replacing the grass with something, whether it be real grass or AstroTurf is undecided. If they do plan on replacing the grass, then it is estimated that it will be done around 2018. It will also include a new gate system that covers the new entrance. The new way the entrance is designed will change the way the gates work.
However, voters may need to ask themselves if the city is moving beyond the original measure proposed to them to remodel the Memorial Field bleachers. The bleachers are being paid for by an extra 1% sales tax which is being charged at grocery stores and farmers’ market. This tax was approved in late 2015, and plans to run its course by 2020. It had been planned to generate another $2.7 million for the town in order to fund the project over the 5 years it should be in effect.
It’s also worth remembering that residents did vote for this tax overwhelmingly, at 73% approving.
Recently, the locker rooms underneath the stadium have been unveiled. This will likely be warmed received by Sandpoint High School teams who use the stadium, including the baseball, soccer, and football groups. It has also hosted graduations, ceremonies, and festivals that drive in tourism and as a result improve the economy. It’s also worth remembering that the program was initiated by failure to meet safety codes for the bleachers, and so was a necessity to keep the stadium running.