The Tyler ISD School Board's proposal to renovate Tyler Rose Stadium has stirred up controversy. With plans to replace the turf came the proposition to expand the field so it could double as a regulation size soccer stadium. But bringing soccer in would push track out.
"The changes that they're going to make would be tantamount to an eviction, an eviction of an event that has long been a tradition of our community for thirty-something years," says Andrew Melontree, Sr.
Each year the Tyler Rose Stadium hosts the Rose Parade, Friday night football and the Earl Campbell-Emma Barrett Relays.
However, if the field is expanded to accommodate soccer, two of the seven track lanes would be eliminated, making the stadium unsuitable to host those historic relays. It's a thought that former Tyler City Councilman and Smith County Commissioner Andrew Melontree says is just unbearable.
"We thought we'd had just about as much administrative bullying as we could take and put up with so we rose up against it," he says.
At Thursday night's school board meeting many spoke in favor of one sport or the other. Some people tried to find a middle ground.
Price Arredondo from the Tyler Hispanic Business Alliance says he sees the situation as an opportunity for community growth.
"To me it's a great opportunity to fully utilize this venue and look at it and build that niche to make Tyler a soccer destination," says Arredondo. He says he understands the history the relays have at the stadium but doesn't think moving them is necessarily a bad thing.
"It's moving to what could be a better venue, really," Arredondo says.
However, that other venue doesn't yet exist. It may after the next TISD bond election, but until then Melontree says the relays shouldn't budge.
"I'd like to let it stay just as it is and let the school board go about developing something that could be beneficial to soccer," Melontree says.
Thursday night the school board voted to table the proposition until their next school board meeting in April.