Breaking News: Doucet & Friends Oppose Stadium!

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Clive Doucet, his best Glebite buddy Ian Lee, and their amigos in the Glebe Community Association are against any development taking place in their neighbourhood. We Know... all of Ottawa is well aware...

... is it really necessary to waste everyone's time by calling a press conference and saying it again? To repeat the same tired old arguments that failed to persuade anyone before the last vote?

But meh, why not, lets shoot 'em down again just for fun. My comments are in red.

Lansdowne debate resumes in earnest (should read: "Two Clowns Speak, City Ignores Them")

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/2010wintergames/Lansdowne+debate+resumes+earnest/2779230/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/201 ... story.html[/url]

By Maria "Da voice of da Glebe" Cook, The Ottawa CitizenApril 8, 2010 6:02 PM

OTTAWA — As deadlines approach for a decision on renewing Lansdowne Park, the debate about the way forward resumed in earnest at City Hall Thursday.

Ian Lee, director of the MBA program at Carleton University’s Sprott business school, said it’s a bad deal for taxpayers to spend $129 million to renovate Frank Clair Stadium — particularly since the city will be borrowing in the face of a debt crisis and rising interest rates <which would be terrifying if interest rates weren't ridiculously low at the moment and the city were unable to lock itself into a non-variable rate>.

“We’re providing the land and the capital and I don’t see what we’re getting back,? <Well, fixing lansdowne, a stadium, professional sports, concerts, and infrastructure. problem solved?> said Lee, speaking at a press conference held by Capital Ward Councillor Clive Doucet. “The people who are benefitting are the owners of the sports teams.? <yes, especially since all the people who will use and enjoy lansdowne will have to be dragged there against their will, right?>

Kevin McCrann, spokesman for the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, said the developers will spend $30 million to bring a Canadian Football League team to Ottawa.

“We’re building the retail component and parking and we’re contributing to the front lawn,? he said. “We’re also inheriting the losses of operating the stadium for years to come.

“There are very few stadiums that are privately built,? said McCrann. “This is Ottawa’s world-class open-air stadium. It will host Carleton University football games, soccer games, concerts. It’s a public facility. We think it’s a fair proposal.?

City council’s final vote to approve the Lansdowne Partnership Plan takes place in June. The results of a design competition for the public space will be unveiled May 13. A transportation study is also under way.

Lee noted that most stadiums built in the United States in recent years have had large amounts of private money behind them <not relative to the profits that NFL, MLB, and NCAA teams make from using the facility>.

For example, at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, Arizona, which opened in 2006, the public contributed $344 million <oh really? is that all?> and the private sector $104 million <Wow, those Arizona Cardinals sure are generous! They've truly beggared themselves, having only $158M in revenues AFTER paying the debt servicing on their stadium loan! Why is OSEG so selfish?>. At the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which opened in 2003, public cost was $202 million versus a private sum of $310 million <Way to go, Philadelphia Eagles! You're only get to make $218M in revenues after debt servicing. I mean seriously, why can't OSEG behave like NFL owners???>.

“The message is that it can’t be built unless the public sector builds it,? said Lee. “That’s not true.? <That's right, Mr. Lee! As long as the professional sports team is worth a billion dollars and raking in enormous profits, the public sector is totally only on the hook for $200M to $350M! I see the light now!>

The city plans to borrow $116.9 million at 5.35 per cent interest over 40 years, with a repayment of $283.9 million <it's spread over 40 years, and in terms of flow, debt will actually be DECREASING, but shhh, don't tell the readers!>. The city’s current debt is about $550 million.

“Every government is moving forward into an economic environment where interest rates are going to go up dramatically,? says Lee. “Is it prudent to borrow like there’s no tomorrow??<if you can get yourself locked into a relatively low interest rate right now? uhhh.... YA!!!>

Also at the press conference was “concerned taxpayer? <Wow, a concerned taxpayer??? They always make level-headed decisions, let's all listen!> Jean-Marie Leduc, of Ottawa. He recently returned from the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, where he displayed his collection of vintage skates.

While in British Columbia he visited Fort St. John, population 19,000. It recently built a sportsplex that contains two NHL sized ice rinks, an Olympic-sized speed skating oval, a figure skating facility, 12 dressing rooms, a 400-metre running track, meeting rooms and more.<I'm sure the Ottawa 67's won't mind playing in a facility that has no seats for the fans :slight_smile:. And they did that without any kind of major international sporting event to boost demand for facilities and public support?... what's that?...what the heck is "the Olympics"?>

It cost $41 million , with local taxpayers paying $15 million and the province contributing $26 million. In addition, the federal government has given $5 million for the parking lot. <Amazing! Hey, what did the private sector contribute? Oh, and the town will be on the hook for any operating losses (which are pretty much guaranteed), but shhh, don't tell the readers! Mum's the word!>

“It’s gorgeous,? said Leduc. ?I think we can do much better (than Lansdowne Live.)" <Really, vintage skate collector? YOU think we can do better? Well, that settles it. Throw out the fact that no other feasible plan has ever come forward, the vintage skate collector is confident the golden goose is just around the corner!>

Doucet noted that Lansdowne is not eligible for provincial or federal funding because it is a sole-source project. Lansdowne is not eligible for provincial or federal funding because it is a sole-source project <The word "noted" is a little vague. What actually happened is Clive Doucet removed his shirt and displayed his "Lansdowne is not eligible for provincial or federal funding because it is a sole-source project" tatoo, newly incribed across his back>.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

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‘Bullet in the head’
Stadium reno interest could wreck city’s finances: Doucet. In a related story, an asteroid could fall on Ottawa

[url=http://www.metronews.ca/ottawa/local/article/498818--bullet-in-the-head]http://www.metronews.ca/ottawa/local/ar ... n-the-head[/url]

TIM WIECLAWSKI
METRO OTTAWA
April 09, 2010 5:21 a.m.

With interest rates destined to rise, the cost to the City of Ottawa for renovating Frank Clair Stadium will end up being a financial “bullet in the head,? insisted Capital Ward Coun. Clive Doucet Thursday.

“If people still want to put that bullet in the head, they have the right to do that, but they should know that they are pulling the trigger,? said Doucet at an event to discuss the cost to the city for renovating Lansdowne Park. <Clive is resorting to passive agression. Just when you thought he couldn't be more annoying>.

Ottawa is paying the full cost of building the stadium, and will have to take out a $116.9-million loan over 40 years. If they can get an interest rate of 5.35 per cent, the city will end up paying $167 million in interest alone.

Most stadiums in North America are funded by a mixture of public and private funding, said Sprott School of Business MBA program director Ian Lee.

Lee predicts that by the time the city takes out its loan, interest rates will have risen steeply and the amount the city will repay will be much higher.

The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group guaranteed that the new Ottawa football franchise will operate for five seasons, bringing in an estimated $56.8 million.

“If we’re only guaranteed five, I’m going to assume the stadium only has value for five years,? said Lee. “That works out to a subsidy of $6.4 million per game by the 800,000 people of Ottawa. It just seems like it could be a lot cheaper if we put fans on a Greyhound bus to Toronto or Montreal to watch a game.? <and with that, Dr. Lee made the most convincing argument ever against offering professors tenure>

The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group would not be involved with this project if they didn’t think the team would be around longer than five years, said spokesman Kevin McCrann.

“This is Ottawa’s world-class open-air stadium,? McCrann said. “It will host Carleton University football games, soccer games, concerts. It’s a public facility.?

Lol...

David Reeveley makes a touch more sense.

[url=http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/greaterottawa/default.aspx]http://communities.canada.com/ottawacit ... fault.aspx[/url]
The latest salvo from Capital Councillor Clive Doucet and Carleton U. business professor Ian Lee, trying to stop the Lansdowne Live redevelopment plan, is troubling.

Lee's PowerPoint presentation is downloadable from Doucet's website here.

It has two key elements.

The first is that the Lansdowne Live plan proposes that the city will spend all the money to refurbish Frank Clair Stadium, and that's unusual. Several examples are cited:

For example, in Dallas, the $650-million project cost will be shared 50/50

In Indianapolis, it's $400 million from the public sector plus $100 million from private contributions.

And in Minneapolis, taxpayers will pay $395 million toward a $675-million stadium with the private sector contributing $280 million.

I assume the Dallas stadium is Cowboys Stadium, which is actually finished. It was budgeted at $650 million but ended up costing $1.3 billion — a rather significant data point, one worth examining in more detail — but a crucial element is that it's privately owned and the Cowboys make gobs of money and owner Jerry Jones probably could have paid the whole shot himself. The taxpayers just gave the project a gigantic subsidy. It's a really bad example for the case Lee's trying to make.

In Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium's website says it's costing about $710 million, which is funded by the state, county and city, with $100 million kicked in by the Indianapolis Colts (though actually it was only $52 million because the city paid the Colts $48 million to stop using its old stadium). Lucas Oil Stadium is owned by a stadium authority that's technically an arm's-length government agency but whose board is all business leaders (some with elective office experience).

In Minneapolis, Target Field has a similar ownership arrangement, a publicly constituted stadium authority, and the figures I can easily find are that governments kicked in $392 million of a $522-million budget, leaving the Minnesota Twins to pay $130 million. A current media report from Minneapolis, with the stadium about to host its first baseball game, gives the total figure as $555 million.

Maybe we're talking about different stadiums, which would explain the differences between Lee's figures and mine. Or maybe there are currency-conversion issues, or his figures are more up to date, or any number of other reasons why the numbers don't match up.

But the point is, these stadium projects are all one-offs. The sports teams involved needed or wanted new venues to play in, and so they got to work building them, with lots of private-sector help.

Frank Clair Stadium is part of the larger Lansdowne redevelopment plan. It's not just about the stadium. If this were just about the stadium, it'd be pretty obviously insane for the city to pump in all this cash for the benefit of a potential CFL team, regardless of who owns the joint. The financial details of the Lansdowne redevelopment plan are baroque (PDF) — not hidden, but complex — but when we're assessing the deal we can't pretend all that complexity doesn't exist.

The second is that the city's plan to take on debt to pay for the stadium reno is a dangerous idea.

Here's our Maria Cook in a news story:

The city plans to borrow $116.9 million at 5.35 per cent interest over 40 years, with a repayment of $283.9 million. The city’s current debt is about $550 million.

“Every government is moving forward into an economic environment where interest rates are going to go up dramatically,? Lee said. “Is it prudent to borrow like there’s no tomorrow??

and in a bit more depth on her blog:

Lee, a former banker and an economist, says a worldwide government debt crisis is looming; take a look at Greece.

Interest rates will rise in the next couple of years, he predicts.

The City of Ottawa owes about $550 million.

A few big ticket items are coming up: about $800 for mass transit, $250 million for sewer renewal and a new trade show building out by the airport, cost unknown.

In five years, he suggests, the City will owe about $2 billion.

Here's Metro's Tim Wieclawski:

With interest rates destined to rise, the cost to the City of Ottawa for renovating Frank Clair Stadium will end up being a financial “bullet in the head,? insisted Capital Ward Coun. Clive Doucet Thursday.

“If people still want to put that bullet in the head, they have the right to do that, but they should know that they are pulling the trigger,? said Doucet at an event to discuss the cost to the city for renovating Lansdowne Park.

Ottawa is paying the full cost of building the stadium, and will have to take out a $116.9-million loan over 40 years. If they can get an interest rate of 5.35 per cent, the city will end up paying $167 million in interest alone.

...

Lee predicts that by the time the city takes out its loan, interest rates will have risen steeply and the amount the city will repay will be much higher.

The Sun covered the presentation but didn't include the interest-rate stuff.

Interest rates are indeed expected to rise over the next few years, if only because they really can't get any lower than they are right now. But the city's plan is to take out 40-year bonds (search the linked document for the word "modeled," about two-thirds of the way down) with a locked-in interest rate, which is a normal way of paying for capital projects with long-term benefits. So concerns about interest-rate fluctuations are really an argument in favour of getting started with this thing right away, no delay, before rates rise.

That said, the concern that rates will rise is a valid one. Kind of. Long-term municipal bonds are about the safest kind of investment you can make, and as such, their real interest rates just don't fluctuate all that much. What could happen to the rates for private home mortgages, or what the feds have to pay out on treasury bills, isn't a good indicator of what the City of Ottawa's interest rates on municipal bonds is likely to be.

There's some other guff in there, too.

Invoking Greece is just a smear. That country has a serious debt problem, it's true. But it's national debt — that is, the debt owed by the national government — is more than the country's entire gross domestic product for a year and it has an ongoing and steep budget deficit. If Ottawa borrows all the money it plans for Lansdowne, light rail, upgrading the sewer system and everything else, using Lee's numbers, the city will have total debt of $2 billion, all accumulated for capital projects. The city's GDP is about $40 billion. That's actually an old number; the Conference Board of Canada report the other day forecasting a deceleration in the local economy puts it at $46 billion this year and continuing to grow despite cuts to the public service.

So where Greece's debt-to-GDP ratio is 100-plus per cent, Ottawa's will be 5 per cent if we do all that "bullet in the head" spending. Let's consider a wildly bad case where the feds slash and burn and the capital projects cost way more and say the ratio gets to 15 per cent. That's not desirable, but you still can't even see the Greek situation from there. Greece's crisis is precipitated by fears that it won't be able to find anybody to lend its government money to (1) keep going, and (2) pay off old debts that are coming due. Ottawa has a triple-A credit rating. They aren't remotely comparable.

I'm also bugged by Lee's claim that we're looking at a taxpayer subsidy of $6.4 million per CFL game at the renovated stadium. At least he shows his work. Wieclawski writes:

The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group guaranteed that the new Ottawa football franchise will operate for five seasons, bringing in an estimated $56.8 million.

“If we’re only guaranteed five, I’m going to assume the stadium only has value for five years,? said Lee. “That works out to a subsidy of $6.4 million per game by the 800,000 people of Ottawa*. It just seems like it could be a lot cheaper if we put fans on a Greyhound bus to Toronto or Montreal to watch a game.?

(*The city's population is 900,000. If you insist on a formal count, it was about 812,000 in the census of 2006, four years ago.)

By this reasoning, concerts and community sports events are free, and so are any games played after five years. Not a bad deal.

Look, my worries about the Lansdowne redevelopment plan are well known and I'm not shy about repeating them: I don't like that they scrapped the design competition and took a sole-sourced offer from a group that wasn't shy about bullying city councillors a bit. I'm not crazy about a CFL team's being the centrepiece of the redevelopment when the CFL has failed here twice (though I'm heartened by the Lansdowne Live group's apparently genuine belief, as reflected in the terms of the proposed deal, that they can really make a team work). The site isn't on a major transit line and won't be unless they dig a rail tunnel under Bank Street, which I don't expect to see in my lifetime. City council has voted to move forward with the project despite these problems, some of which it's trying to address in the current stage of the planning. The limited academic work on the economic spinoff effects of new sports stadiums suggests it's not very significant.

There's a lot there, a lot of perfectly good reasons to not like the plan. The Doucet and Lee presentation hasn't really added to them.

Finally a thoughtful article on the subject, and from an author not in full support of Landsdowne Live. Can people with common sense actually exist? Still holding out hope Ottawa gets things going, and soon. Not having been to Ottawa myself, I see from prior posts there are considerations like traffic into the area for game/event days and some other issues, but I can imagine how frustrating it is to read some of these statements that just make no sense. Assume the stadium only has value for 5 years, it would be just cheaper to buy everyone greyhound tickets to mtl or tor for a game? Even without the CFL, the stadium would be used for open air concerts, university/amateur sports, and can I'm sure house a soccer team (MSL or other). Not to mention the short sightedness of the spinoffs of building something - not just having a CFL team, but job creation putting people to work for the club or in constructing the stadium and the whole project, having a facility to attract international events and concerts which may otherwise bypass the city. The plan here in Wpg is pushing ahead in order to take advantage of the interest rates now and lock in loans. One would think that would be the same idea in Ottawa, take advantage of low interest rates before they skyrocket, and that a politician would get that. I would hope that if they somehow manage to kill the deal and then want funds to develop Landsdowne the way they want it the same arguments be made to counteract and shut down their proposal.

Wolvrine29
Here is just some of the issues in ottawa.

Green Space
There are some in this city really obbsesed with green space.They want landsdown turned into a park plus many areas around the city some are aginst devlopment because they feel it will ruin the parks etc in the area.

Arts and culture vs Sports
For what ever reason some feel its fine to funds the arts etc all the funding the better.Yet some don't think sports should get any funding be it pro or youth there were some even upset when the city upgrades or builds new youth arenas.Another exzample the senators are bidding for the 2012 all star game but the city will be giving them $200,000 i beleave in mostly police services well you should have seen the uproar over that.Alot said no public money should go to help the all star game etc.

The Town Fun Forgot
While there is lots to do in ottawa the amount of complaining is really out of control.The bluesfest which is held every year in down town ottawa that alone gets tons of people complaining then you have when ottawa hosted the world juniors a couple years a ago people were upset about the partys downtown but the kicker is when the sens went to the finals people did complain about the sens mile.So yes in many ways ottawa is the town fun forgot.

I find a big part of the problem here is that people complain but never offer a solution.

Some wanted a design competition. some didn’t. They compromise by offering a competition for half the park, but those who wanted it now can’t be bothered if it isn’t for the whole park.

(Truth is, they’re lying. They wanted a competition that would bring about the death of the stadium)

Reminds me of people who complain about the government but never vote. :roll:

I have brought this up on other sites it does not matter what they do open it up etc if the end result is a stadium those in the glebe will be aginst it.The issue in some in the glebe want a park and any thing less won't do not at all for some.

I wonder at what point thse people are going to just STFU and realise they've lost?

Since the November vote, there is no reason to believe that Greenberg and co. are going to blow the June vote. You could fear a delay, or a disastrous transportation report, but that's about it.

Belly-aching about it now is completely pointless. Claiming that every report is biased or that anyone in favour of it is paid of changes nothing.

Man, I'm so looking forward to this being over...Almost three years of this nonsense...

I think these groups are going to far and it will come back to haunt them.Lets just say the city opens it up and the best bid is for a 80,000 stadium and a 20,000 seat arena.Then what will they say the city did open it up like they wanted and they got the best bid.It would be hard or atleast you would think it would be hard for them to fight it then.The other exzample is what if they open it up the best bid is for a 20,000 seat music hall a new trade centre and the library so many are pushing for.Would they fight this as it seem there aginst any devlopment and if they did not fight it then what does that say and what could be done.

At the end of the day, it just seems weird that a city as large as Ottawa and the capital of fairly wealthy nation doesn't have a showcase football/soccer stadium with football of any variety so popular worldwide. I'm sure the people of Ottawa will see that it is an embarrasement to their city and our capital not to have such a facility, actually it would be a joke if they can't get an excellent 25,000 seater done.

Another boot to the behind for Clive. Here’s a snippet from an Ottawa Citizen article.

OTTAWA — There will be no ballot question on homelessness - or anything else, it seems - during this fall's municipal election. / Capital Councillor Clive Doucet tried to have a couple of other ballot questions added: One on whether the city should commission a study on the state of the city government "including details as to how de-amalgamation could be effected," and another on whether the city should have a "competitive process for the disposition of Lansdowne Park."

Council voted 7-15 against the Lansdowne Park proposal, while the de-amalgamation motion fell apart after Doucet couldn't find someone to second it.

More comment below on Councillor Clive's passionate outburst at yesterday's council (which I heard this am on the radio, how anyone can sit around the table with him and attempt a rational discourse is beyond me).

" large super-malls, big-box or otherwise, putting the vampire death-suck on the downtown... ", yes the opponents of stadium refurbishment are still beating that dead horse, I'm convinced that when construction begins, and I believe it will because Councillors know a NO vote would kill development in the city and more importantly make themselves look like even bigger fools, when demolition begins there will be Gelebites chaining themselves to the fence around the project, lying in front of bulldozers, you name it.

[url=http://communities.canada.com/OTTAWACITIZEN/blogs/bulldog/archive/2010/04/14/what-was-clive-doucet-thinking.aspx]http://communities.canada.com/OTTAWACIT ... nking.aspx[/url]

I can't wait to go watch a game at Landsdown Live. It is going to be an incredible site...

Clive and his croonies like Lee and Martin are trying to use fear to get support for their very selfish idea. Very sad.

Nice to see the support looks solid. It will be interesting to see if Martin puts forth a proposal :slight_smile:

I've posted a couple of links below to blogs from the Ottawa Citizen that cover the Lansdowne situation very closely. The opponents to the proposal are rehashing the same, tired, discredited arguments over and over. City Council will be considering changes to the plan through a final vote on June 23. the plan involves the renovation of Frank Clair Stadium, the new cfl team, and the addition of retail, office and hotel space, plus the greening of the southeastern portion of the site. There is a chance a few councillors may change their minds and vote against the proposal, but I think it unlikely that it will not pass. This John Martin fellow is a concerned Glebe resident, he has a website with a vision for Lansdowne and a proposal to build a stadium at another location (Bayview), nothing that hasn't been proposed already. But it's all pie-in-the-sky stuff as he has zero financial backing. The Professor Lee from Carleton's Sprott School of Business is also a Glebe resident. I've followed his arguments and honestly don't see anything that should stop the development, he's painting it as private land being given to developers for their financial gain. In my view the city and the developers are making an honest effort to improve the proposal to benefit all involved. I live within 15 minutes walk of the Glebe and know the area well, I am convinced the vast majority of opposition is simply Glebe residents who do not want their quiet burg disrupted, honestly in some respects I don't blame them but the stadium has been there for decades and this proposal to rejuvenate it makes sense. Calling it a "park" when it's nothing more that a crumbling concrete eyesore, and ignoring the Stadium's history certainly isn't helping their cause.

As for the Glebe Business Improvement Association (BIA), their leaking this weekend of preliminary drawings of the site and subsequent news conference was amateurish and made them look like fools:

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Glebe+protests+Lansdowne+sketches/2912297/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology ... story.html[/url]

Anyone serious about seeing a return of the cfl to Ottawa should follow these stories closely, if you get involved keep it civil as the ratings and hysteria emanating from the likes of Councillor Clive Doucet and the Glebe BIA only work against them. The average person following the story knows it's the best proposal we will see in our lifetime to revitalize the site.

[url=http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/bulldog/default.aspx]http://communities.canada.com/ottawacit ... fault.aspx[/url] [url=http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/greaterottawa/default.aspx]http://communities.canada.com/ottawacit ... fault.aspx[/url]

There's a blog entry on the Citizen website about the coming June vote.

It's lengthy, but the gist of it is that while the Glebe groups still want to try to change the minds of enough councillors to reverse November's 15-9 vote in favour of LL, those in the middle that are quoted do not sound ready to move.

More irritating is that those same Glebe groups continue to state that even after THAT vote, there will still be an opportunity to derail the plan. :roll:

This is the latest, Greenberg speaking up and trying to shoot down the lies that are being spread by the opponents:

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Lansdowne+information+disputed/2926659/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Lansd ... story.html[/url]

I should imagine that even after constructions starts, Doucet will have a press conference and tell us it should be stopped.

OSEG has to “walk a thin line? on the retail component, and council and senior staff have said the group needs to demonstrate strong interest from potential tenants, Greenberg wrote. “How do we do that without meeting with prospective tenants and showing them concepts of what the retail area might look like??
It must be frustrating to have to state the obvious because a supposed business improvement group is either too dumb or deceitful to grasp it.

I saw a comment about how the BIA is concerned about two 10-story residential towers. Yeah, 'cause the last thing a business wants is 20 floors of additional potential customers. Gads...

This is about a small group of individuals who don't want any development in their area. They want the stadium bulldozed and disposed of at Tax payers expense (all tax payers, not just the Glibe) and than they want those same tax payers to plant more trees and dog urinals so that their property only THEIR properties increase in values.

As an outsider even and its obvious and comical this little group of elite is willing to go to try and instill fear in the rest of their community. Wonder if they will sell and move out when the project is built :wink:

Someone sent me this photo of football at Lansdowne I think in around the '50's. Cool!:

http://www.vo-ao.ca/images/slideshow/1960circa.jpg

The south stands looked better then than they do now! :smiley:

Very nice, Earl! :thup: