Supporters envision an upgraded bowl in Grant Park by as early as '05
Grant High boosters are taking steps to permanently return football, including night games, to the campus.
Lloyd Lindley, an urban designer and the parent of a Grant football player, has been working within the Hollywood community for more than a year to clear a path for the proposal to succeed.
Plans call for a new track, an artificial-turf field, seating and lights at the bowl in Grant Park. With the improvements, Grant could host Friday night football games and numerous other activities, including prep soccer and club sports such as lacrosse and rugby.
'We're still in the early stages of this plan, but we're far enough along that we know what we need to do to get a conditional use permit,' Lindley says. 'I think this would be a great thing for the community.'
The goal is to have the bowl (the field is surrounded by a dirt berm) upgraded by the 2006 fall season. If significant fund raising goes well Ñas much as $1 million might be required Ñthe project could be completed by 2005.
Grant won six state titles in football between 1943 and 1963, but the Generals' playoff win this year was their first since 1979. One factor in the lack of modern-era success may have been a lack of a home field. For more than three decades, Grant has played all of its home games elsewhere, mostly at PGE Park and then at Lincoln's Mike Walsh Field.
That changed in 2002, when the Generals played Jefferson at Grant Park, adjacent to the school, before a crowd of some 1,500, even though there was seating for only 200. This season, Grant played two football games at Grant Park.
Lindley has been working with Bob Price, a community member and former city planner.
The Hollywood community would get some access to the field, and the Grant project would help reduce the school's use of Mike Walsh Field, an issue among the Lincoln parents who spurred its development.
'From the start, I've said that I would keep working as long as there wasn't significant opposition,' Lindley says. 'Everyone that I've talked to Ñ the nearby neighborhood associations, the Hollywood Little League, local businesses Ñ has been supportive. Everyone is excited about this.'