For two years orange barrel cones dotted the scenery along Legion Road in front of J.P. Riddle Stadium. They seemed at times to be a permanent part of the landscape – an ever-present symbol of a long-delayed project with no end in sight. Sometimes they would move as a section of curb was poured, or another layer of asphalt was laid down, then lined, then graded, only for another layer to be placed atop it. A median separates not only the north-bound lanes from the south-bound lanes, but one set of barrels from the other.
But with construction on Legion Road finally complete, when one drives down Legion Road the barrels’ absence is obvious. Like when an old, annoying friend is the last one at the party and isn’t quite understanding the hints to leave, the cones finally disappearing is a relief to all along the busy thoroughfare.
“I never thought this day would come,” said SwampDogs assistant general manager Joe Vasile. “I’m going into my third season with the team and this is the first time that Legion Road has not been under construction.”
The construction wasn’t all bad though, as it created some of the more memorable moments in the SwampDogs office over the past two years. On July 1, 2014, the section of Legion Road between Owen Drive and The Swamp was completely shut down for construction, wreaking traffic havoc on the July 3rd game. One time pulling out of the ballpark, the SwampDogs staff witnessed a fan – seemingly fed up with the medians being erected around Fayetteville – drive his S.U.V. straight over the median and make a left turn out of the park.
“Of all the things I’ve witnessed in my years in Fayetteville – the revitalization of downtown, countless displays from the Golden Knights, the birth of my daughter – this is the most memorable,” said SwampDogs general manager Jeremy Aagard. “We’re all very excited about the improvements in our community, but more excited when we can actually enjoy them. “