Fine print in agreement to sell coliseum allows for removal of Joel name

Lawrence Joel
UPDATE: City Manager Lee Garrity and City Attorney Angela Carmon disputed the characterization in this blog post of language in the restrictive covenant as a "loophole." They confirmed that the agreement gives the city the power to approve the termination of a so-called "memorial term." That action, under the agreement, would lift restrictions against removing the Joel name and veterans memorial name from the marquee sign and the stone facade.

Garrity, via e-mail: "During the many public meetings we had on this important issue, we heard from some veterans and some supporters of Lawrence Joel that expressed concerns about the current Joel memorial. Concerns about the order of monuments, a desire for a statue to Lawrence Joel on the plaza, a missing plaque from the original coliseum and others were voiced. Because of these concerns, we very purposely added the clause you refer to below. That clause gives us the option, with approval of city council, to build a new memorial. Although there is no plan to do such, we wanted to make sure the veterans, the Joel family and community reserved such a right.

ORIGINAL POST: The Winston-Salem City Council will consider a proposal to sell Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum to Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray Stadium to Winston-Salem State University tonight.

One of a handful of items of contention has been whether Wake Forest University would agree to retain the name Lawrence Joel, a Winston-Salem native who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor during an intense firefight in Vietnam, and the words "veterans memorial" on the coliseum. The university previously agreed to keep Lawrence Joel's name in the lobby and on the plaza memorial flanking the entrance of the facility, but wanted to reserve naming rights to defray the cost of maintenance.

Then, the university reversed course, and made an agreement publicized by the city more than a week ago to keep the Lawrence Joel name and veterans memorial designation on the coliseum facade and marquee sign on University Parkway as part of any potential transfer of ownership.  

A Declaration of Restrictive Covenants and Conditions prepared by City Attorney Angela Carmon includes a significant loophole governing the preservation of the Lawrence Joel name. The declaration essentially states that the names "Lawrence Joel" and "veterans memorial" will remain on the marquee sign and the rectangular stone facade above the facility entrance during a period referenced as "the memorial term."

The "memorial term" language appears to give the city, as grantor (or seller) of the property, the ability to lift the restrictions on the university, as grantee (or buyer), at any time.

To wit:
The grantor has agreed in writing to end the Memorial Term, in the event that Grantor and Grantee have agreed on an alternative way to memorialize Lawrence Joel and war veterans. In the event of a termination pursuant to the previous sentence, Grantor shall on request from Grantee, confirm such termination in an instrument in recordable form, which Grantee may cause to be recorded in the Forsyth County Registry.

City Manager Lee Garrity deflected questions by stating in an e-mail to YES! Weekly that "the terms are fully explained in the declaration." Hopefully council members have taken a hard look at the proposed deal before they cast their votes. 

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