WEST SIDE STADIUM TO COST $1,172,000
DEC 12 (Green Bay) - Most of the hard figures are present today with which Green Bay will decide whether to build a new home for the Packers, and, if so, whether it should be a new stadium or an enlarged and remodeled City Stadium. The delivery of estimates and sketches for a new stadium on the far west side to Mayor Otto Rachals this morning by architect John Somerville provided this comparison:
1. A minimum of $1,172,350 for a 32,264-seat stadium and lighting system in E.J. Perkins Park, at Military Avenue and Bond Street.
2. A minimum estimate of $900,000 to tear down the 24,500-seat wood stands at City Stadium and replace them with between 32,000 and 33,000 new seats. This estimate will be scaled down by plans now being drawn to make 12,000 of the seats of a portable type.
When the alternate City Stadium plan is completed, both sets of figures will be forwarded to the City Council's finance committee for a recommendation. Whichever plan gains Council approval will go to the voters in a required bonding referendum. Some City Hall opinion predicts that the question of where the stadium should be located also may reach the voters in an advisory referendum. Preliminary debate early this fall already has indicated the main views, lower costs at City Stadium against better parking and traffic facilities at the proposed new location. Somerville was hired to provide a cost comparison after architects Foeller, Schober, Berners, Safford and Jahn completed sketches of a remodeled and enlarged City Stadium in August. The proposed new stadium would be built in a natural depression east of Military Avenue and north of Bond Street with the lower one-third of sideline stands resting on the slopes. The upper two-thirds of the stands on each side would be pre-stressed concrete slabs supported by steel. There would be 66 rows totaling 13,725 seats, 18 inches wide, on each side...PORTABLE SEATS INCLUDED: The minimum cost estimate includes a 42-row, 4,670-seat portable-type bleacher behind the south end zone. If these seats were to be of the same type of construction as the side stands, the cost would be increased by $40,000. The corners of the "U" would be open, but the same pre-stressed concrete construction could be added or a similar end zone unit could be built on the north side. If this was done on both ends, a 47,184 seat stadium would be the result. Assuming that both side units and the south end unit were permanent as sketched, there would be three gates under each side stand and two under the end section leading to nine ramps to seats on each side and five ramps to end zone seats. Under the stands would be a 40 to 50 foot wide "lobby", team rooms, rest rooms, first aid room and concession stands. Construction under the stands would be closed in, as at Milwaukee County Stadium, but this is not included in the estimate. The west stands would have a heated, 80-foot long press box, about 20 feet longer than facilities at City Stadium...ESTIMATES ARE GIVEN: Somerville's plans include these unit estimates: A total of $647,000 for the two sideline stands and end zone bleachers ($40,000 more for the permanent end zone unit); $286,000 for the facilities under the stands; $110,000 for electrical, heating and plumbing contracts; $73,750 for a field lighting system; and $1,600 for seeding the turf. Preparation of 45 acres of gravel-surfaced parking space for 6,450 cars on adjoining city property would cost an estimated $136,440. This was not included in the stadium estimate, but with the permanent end zone section, it would raise the total to $1,348,790. The city off-street parking ordinance requires one parking space for every five persons of capacity of new buildings constructed for public gatherings. Construction plans for the new City Stadium would also have entrance under the stands in contrast to the present limitation of only gates from N. Baird Street. The estimate was that sideline stands and those behind both end zones would cost between $640,000 and $800,000, rest room, concession stands, and press improvements would cost between $75,000 and $100,000, and $25,000 would be needed for field changes, including a new running track. The playing field would have to be moved slightly to the north. There would be no corner seating...20,000 PERMANENT SEATS: The proposal now being worked on by the architect would reduce the cost by limiting permanent seating to 20,000, adequate for public events other than Packer games. The first rows of sideline stands would be high enough to allow temporary bleachers to be placed on the track and the same type of seating would be placed behind the end zone. These portable units, similar to those used for football at Wrigley Field and Milwaukee County Stadium, could be used by the city for other uses at other times of the year. No track is included in the new stadium sketch, but space is provided. Like most football fields, the new stadium would run north and south compared to the east-west gridiron at City Stadium. Aside from cost comparison, Green Bay received a general forecast of the debate over the sites this fall. Proponents of enlarging the present stadium, including Mayor Otto Rachals, point to the lower total cost and ask why more money should be spent for a new stadium, whose capacity would be used only four times a year. It is argued that the stadium, owned by the Board of Education and adjacent to East High School, could continue to be used for high school sports and more civic affairs since it is closer to downtown...PARKING IS MINIMIZED: Parking and traffic troubles are discounted as over-rated and with the same "four times a year" argument. Improved parking and traffic are the big rallying points for supporters of a new stadium because of the Packers' dependence on out-of-town support. It is pointed out that parking lots could feed into Military Avenue (the Highway 41 bypass), or Velp Avenue, leading northwards to upstate and Upper Michigan or south around Green Bay. Fans from lakeshore communities could travel on such east-west streets as Mather and Bond Streets to Broadway and the Fox River bridges. The Traffic commission already is on record against the City Stadium project because of "severe traffic and parking problems at the site of the present stadium." What the Council will think about turning the so-called Detry property, about 40 acres, and most of the remainder of Perkins Park into a parking lot is another thing...DOWN PAYMENT MADE: A $3,300 down payment for the land, 10 percent of its cost, was included in the 1956 budget, over the objection of Rachals and a finance committee majority, as a park addition. It was plain, though, that a few aldermen had parking in minds. Perkins Park, 37 acres, was purchased in 1954 for $30,500 down and $27,500 over five yards at 4 1/2 percent interest. What of the County Veterans Memorial $1,250,000 arena suggested for Perkins Park in a proposal which will reach the County Board Dec. 20? Somerville said more than enough space remains. Some economies would result from a combination of services, heating for example, for the two projects, he said. The Packer Corporation's position in the whole matter is comparable to a tenant. When stadium talk got rolling in 1954, the Packers pointed out that additional seating was necessary to answer the call for more gate receipts from visiting teams...CITE INCREASED COST: While a new field would have certain advantages such "as increased parking facilities and the lure of a new stadium," the corporation pointed out the increased cost of providing things other than seating. The Packer's report said it was doubtful whether more than one more home game could be moved from Milwaukee to Green Bay, even with increased seating. One thing is certain. Packer football is "community business" in Green Bay, and a citizen debate to rival that over the Lake Michigan water supply is in prospect.
GILLMAN'S CUFF LINK HAD WRONG CHAMP
DEC 12 (Los Angeles) - The Los Angeles Rams had just finished trooping into the dressing room after winning the Western Division championship in the NFL Sunday when Coach Sid Gillman held up a gold cuff link for inquisitive reporters. It was inscribed: "Chicago Bears, 1955 Football Champions". Gillman said a friend in Chicago had sent it to him earlier in the week. "Someone back there," said Gillman, "jumped the gun."
PAPA BEAR CALLS IT QUITS HAPPILY EVEN WITHOUT WANTED TITLE
DEC 12 (Chicago) - George Halas, owner-coach of the Chicago Bears, is quitting without the championship he wanted but the pioneer of pro football is glad he's stepping out on a winning note. The Bears did all they could in beating the Philadelphia Eagles, 17-10, but had no control over Los Angeles' 31-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers. Obviously disappointed that his Bears failed to win the Western Division title, Halas said, "I'm glad that the boys finished on a winning note." Halas reiterated that he's going to retire now that the season is over but he refused to name his possible successor. Halas threw his annual "alumni" party Sunday night and said he wasn't interested in talking about pro football. "The season is over and now is the time to have fun," said Halas. Just who will succeed Halas remains a complete mystery. "He must be a man who will devote all of his time to the team." said Halas. "This is a full time job." Halas has indicated that he'll still be the man sitting in on player drafts and probably will run the team from behind the scenes. Despite his numerous statements that he'll retire, it would surprise no one if Halas remained as coach of the Bears.