Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The case for the stadium

The high school needs an athletic field, or we can forget about athletics at the high school. What a shame that would be, given The Clippers' success on the football field.

What city of this size does not have an athletic field? I'm sure you guys will come up with some.

OK, it's old and crumbling - but it means something to the city. It was really famous when it was built, as I reported here last year for the Current:

World War Memorial Stadium was built 70 years ago as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) created by President Franklin Roosevelt. The WPA gave more than 3.5 million boys and men work during World War II. Newburyport’s stadium was one of the more famous projects in the state – it cost $150,000 to build. It will cost $1.5 million to renovate.

I know people love the idea of and want this bike path, but who is going to maintain it? The city can't maintain its existing parks and recreation areas.

Should money from taxes be used? It's all money from taxes, except for what the RESTORE group has raised from private sources.

That being said, it would be a shame if this planned bike trail network from Boston ended somewhere south of here instead of at the border of New Hampshire.


bubba said...

The RESTORE folks may want to research the WPA which was a depression-era program created in 1935. The stadium was completed in 1938 - a year before Hitler invaded Poland and 3 years before the USA entered WWII.

I'm not sure why folks keep positioning the rail trail and the stadium restoration as being mutually exclusive ?

As for "rail trail maintenance", who is maintaining the trails in the open space we've acquired ?

I'm guessing Tom Salemi and his spandex cohorts will volunteer to maintain the trails - just as volunteers maintain hiking and mtn biking trails.

Gillian Swart said...

Good point, Bubba, but I think the stadium was probably named after it became a place for memorial(s)?

I tried to find the answer in Jean Doyle's book, but she only mentions it opening, not what (if anything) it was called at the time.

But I might be seeing her tomorrow night, so I'll ask (if no one provides the answer before then).

This is as murky as the CPA guidelines.

Glad you're back.

bubba said...

I'm not complaining about the name, but rather their attempts to link its construction to the war effort.

That said, I support their efforts to restore it and use of CPA funds to do so.

As for my return, "Big Bubba" passed away recently (no he wasn't shot in the face by the vice president), so I've been focussing on more important things.

Gillian Swart said...

Oh, sorry to hear that, Bubba. My condolences.

Anonymous said...

you are aware that the city has a number of other athletic fields that the high school teams play at,Fuller Field(track), the Lower Field ( baseball), Pioneer Park(softball), Lucy way,(soccer), not to mention the diamonds at the Nock and the Bresnahan and the soccer fields at those schools. THere is also the new soccer field at Cashman Park and a softball field there as well. Lots of places to play.

Tom Salemi said...

I agree with bubba on all counts.

I'm not sure why the two projects are being pitted against one another. It was a stray comment on my blog that got it started.

If we want to talk about priorities, then one could easily argue that neither is as important as shortages at the food pantry.

Regarding maintenance, this is a start.

Sorry to hear you sad news, Bubba.

Gillian Swart said...

Tom & Bubba, Thank you for your usual good insights.

Anonymous, Thank you also. I guess, then, I don't get why they want to make this an "athletic field" as opposed to just a football field.

But in general, I'm in favor with preserving anything that smacks of history and preserves a sense of place. Which, in a way, the rail trail also does - so there you go.

It's just the huge sum of money that's staggering to me. Tom is right, the Pettengill House had its funding CUT this year.

There is no sense of priorities being conveyed in all this.

X said...

the stadium was named after veterans of WWI, hence World War Memorial Stadium.

Anon-softball doesn't play at the pioneer league, and none of those venues have lights, and all of them are shared with other city youth leagues. Between boys/girls, jv/varisty/ and youth leagues, and the various sports each season, there really aren't enough fields.

Gillian Swart said...

Thanks, X.

Anonymous said...

were does the softball team play?

Anonymous said...

Acording to the NHS web site the softball team plays at Pioneer Park, which has lights.I've also been to many games there, they use the far field on the right as you have your back to Merimack street.
You'd think a local like X would have caught a game once in a while.
They do play night soccer and field hockey games at the high school. They seldom get much of a crowd. Maybe a better stadium would get a better draw.