Stadium Proposal Not Dead Yet, Hearing Scheduled on Grant Application

$400,000 Parkland Grant would help pay for synthetic turf surface for new field.

Supporters of a multi-purpose synthetic turf stadium are hoping that a state grant will be able to fund some of what voters refused to pay for in April.

Three months ago, for a $2 million debt exclusion to fund an expanded stadium proposal as part of the new high school construction project.

Now, the town has prepared an application seeking up to $400,000 from the state in the form of a Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Community Grant (PARC) from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

A public information hearing regarding the grant proposal has been scheduled for Wednesday, July 11 at 4 p.m.

Supporters are hoping that the grant will provide the majority of the funding to install a synthetic turf surface on the field to be constructed adjacent to the new high school in 2013.

"The important thing is that this proposal is being sponsored by the town and not by the friends," said School Committee member Brian Dick, a member of the Friends of the Tewksbury Community Athletic Complex. "(Town Manager Richard Montuori) will be host the public hearing."

According to Dick, the grant application was put together by Dr. Cynthia Basteri, who writes grant applications for the Tewksbury School District.

"We ran out of time last year (before the application deadline)," said Dick. "This year, we got all our ducks in a row. Cindy really did a great job."

According to Dick, the town of Beverly received a $500,000 Parkland Grant last year for the purpose.

"I think we've got a good shot at it. We qualify," he said, adding that the public hearing is one of the requirements for the grant because the field construction is being done next to what is called an "Environmental Justice" site.

In their original proposal, the FOTCAC envisioned a 1,500-seat stadium with synthetic turf, lighting for night games and a five-court tennis complex. The Parkland Grant would only go toward the field surface.

Dick said that even if the town is awarded a grant, residents would need to vote to accept the grant at a fall Special Town Meeting.

According to the public notice for the hearing, "any person would like to view the grant application please contact the Town Manager’s office at 978-640-4300 and if any person cannot attend the hearing but would like to provide comments you can you do so by mailing to the Town Manager’s Office, 1009 Main St.
Tewksbury, MA 01876 or by email to hmchambers@tewksbury-ma.gov."


Karyn July 12, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Even the full amount of the grant were we to get it would not fully fund the turf field in its entirety. Where would the extra money come from in the immediate sense? Can the former donations be counted on where many contributors made it contingent upon if there were night lighting included which this does not? Like you and I'm sure others Sean, the statement by the TM troubles me as I feel he should be focusing on TOWN matters not the school dept. or special interests. Our Board of Selectmen may want to take note of that as he reports to them. Thank the Lord we still have Open Town Meeting!
Alex Ro July 12, 2012 at 07:23 PM
If there is any extra money in the town the town manager will look into that. What in the world is he thinking? There are NO librairians in our schools, they want parents to volunteer and here they are making this state of the art sports facility. Unreal. And they mentioned donations. Last I heard there was $12,000 in the fund for this. And where will this extra donation come from? Money trees?
Vinnie from Tewksbury July 12, 2012 at 08:15 PM
We voted it done during the last election. My taxes are high enough now paying for the new high school and the sewer connection. The last town manager lost his job over the bungled sewer project. Does the new town manager want to meet the same fate as the last one? The state funds will partially cover the costs of the new “Tewksbury Community Athletic Complex”. It does not cover the entire cost of the track. To those of you who feel strongly about this new project, apply for the sate grant and then make up the difference yourselves. Don’t ask me and the others that voted against it to pay for a project we already said no to.
Sean Czarniecki July 12, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Karyn - I wondered the same thing about the previously donated money which was supposedly contingent on lighting. I have a feeling that they might have to just hold that money aside. That's another reason that I don't think they will be able to come up with that much money, but if they can, great. Regarding the "town matters not the school dept.," I would have to disagree with your stance there, as the schools (and school dept.) are part of the town. We don't build a school under the school dept., but rather as a town project. With respect to the Selectmen, Mr. Sears was there and stated that the Selectmen supported the grant application. He emphasized that that was it. Nothing more. I feel the same way. Going for grant money is fine. The balance of the capital costs and the maintenance costs are what really need to be discussed.
Karyn July 13, 2012 at 06:06 AM
I guess I should re-phrase that so it doesn't sound like a Town side vs. School side which is not really what I meant.....and I'd have no issue if this were an educational component benefiting ALL (as in upgrading elementary schools) as opposed to a sports field for a select faction/special interest group. I think Mr. Montuori has more than enough on his plate in focusing on "looking to see if there is any money available in the Fall to put toward" PRIORITIES that benefit the WHOLE Town like safety, fire issues, etc. And again, the devil is in the details going beyond obtaining the grant in and of itself.


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