Legion Stadium has recently experienced an increase in usage — including hosting events such as the BB&T High School Football Jamboree and Wilmington Hammerheads FC soccer games — and city officials say it’s due to the installation of synthetic FieldTurf, a high-performance artificial grass.
According to City Spokeswoman Malissa Talbert, prior to this year Legion Stadium averaged about 32 “uses” or events annually, but between 2014 to 2015 the field was used 348 times. City officials believe the increase is due to the switch to synthetic turf in 2011. Since then, the field has seen increased usage and the ability to hold activities on the field rain or shine, significantly reducing the number of cancellations.
The City of Wilmington has maintained the stadium since September 1953 with the stadium currently housing the Wilmington Hammerheads professional soccer team along with sports programs from New Hanover County schools.
Talbert said it’s important that large-scale events, like next week’s BB&T High School Football Jamboree, have the ability to go on even when the forecast calls for rain or weather unsuitable for a grass field. Those events have high potential to produce a positive economic impact that extends beyond the stadium.
Maintenance on the field has also become much more efficient since the turf does not require mowing, watering and fertilizer. That allows staff and resources to support other parks, including the new Olsen Park and the newly renovated Hugh Morton Amphitheater, according to Talbert.
For more information on the 6,000 seat stadium located on 102 N. Third Street you can visit the City of Wilmington website.
James Mieczkowski is a news reporter for Port City Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com On Twitter: @mieczkowskiPCD