While we count down the days until we return to Williams-Brice Stadium we have been making some suggestions for improvements to the game day experience. This is the third and final installment. Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 if you've missed them.
Today, we're talking about outside of the stadium. Our first suggestion is one that we thought was already in the works. The parking areas immediately adjacent to the stadium have been unavailable for tailgating the last season or two. That area should be transformed.
I would like to see the work that has been done on the former Farmers' Market echoed around the stadium. Add grass and Palmetto trees to go along with wide brick walkways. Make that area visually appealing. Perhaps in the future some statutes would be nice. I think a large George Rogers would go nicely, and then when we have our next Heisman winner, we can put his statute up as well.
Speaking of continuing the work that has been done at the Farmers' Market. It'd be nice if the University could buy the Fair Grounds and move the Fair away. In recent years there hasn't been a true "Fair Game." The Fair Game was once a season when there was a home game during the Fair. Not only were a large swath of parking spaces gone but an even larger group of people crowded the area. It was a traffic and logistical nightmare.
There haven't been true Fair Games as often, but there is the fair set up game. Last year during the Georgia game, and this year during the Kentucky game the back of the fairgrounds will be unavailable for parking. The Fair will be setting up and needlessly crowding all other parking.
On top of that the back of the fairgrounds doesn't look very appealing. The front parking area, controlled by the Gamecock Club, looks great. It was overhauled a few years ago, and the change adds to thegame day experience for anyone close to the fairgrounds.
The renovation also stands in contrast to the dated and multifunctional back of the fairgrounds. It doesn't look like a welcoming tailgating area because that is not what it is. Further, there's no real need for the fair to be located where it is. Long ago it was on Elmwood; another move wouldn't hurt it.
I'd like to see the fairgrounds purchased and renovated to look like the Farmers' Market. Some of the building, especially the agriculturally related ones, could be removed. Other buildings could be updated to be part of a mini fan fest that could take place every Saturday in the fall. At the SEC championship game there is fan fest being held next to the Georgia Dome. Carolina could have its own version of that.
Lastly, I'd like to see that Highway Patrol close certain streets right before kickoff. From about 30 minutes prior to kickoff until about 5 minutes after kickoff close Bluff Road from Rosewood to the Farmers' Market, and close George Rogers Boulevard from Bluff to Shop Road. There are many people walking through there and allowing cars to continue creates a dangerous situation. Publicize the closing heavily so that no one will be surprised if they cannot pass through there.
Saturdays at Williams-Brice are already great, but it can't stay the same and expect there to be no dimunition in crowds. These improvements should help Carolina stay among the national leaders in game day experience and attendence.
This slidehow shows the planned renovations for the area diretly adjacent to the stdium. Just thought this would help. Also, I like how you said "when" we have our next Heisman winner!
@GameSox5 Thanks for pointing us to that link. That's even better than what I was hoping for. We can tick one item off the list.