, Newburyport, MA

April 2, 2014

Tearing down north stands at War Memorial Stadium is unacceptable

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

Recently at a meeting of the Community Preservation Committee, Mary Anne Clancy presented a proposal to destroy the north stand at war memorial stadium in order to make more room for soccer fields. This scenario is quite tilted at best. First of all, the Restore Committee in years past had solicited donations and funds in order to rebuild the War Memorial Stadium. They did the south side and ceased due to budgetary concerns. Now after a number of years, they have decided to approach the Community Preservation Fund in order to complete their goal. This meeting was stacked with soccer people in order to show support for this project.

There are a lot of people who are very upset at this approach and many believe now that the original intent of the Restore Committee was never to finish the stadium but wait until financial times were better in order to get what they want. As you may know, there were many monetary donations made by NHS alumni and others in order to maintain the stadium, which, by the way, was the crown jewel of Newburyport High School. That stadium was one of three built before WWII, the others being Landry Stadium in Amesbury and Trinity Stadium in Haverhill, both of which have been restored.

I am totally disgusted with the Institution for Savings for going along with a project that would not only dishonor veterans but destroy a memorial built to honor them. I am equally disgusted with Charlie Cullen for being a part of the very disgraceful act. I know that there were very few if any veterans at that meeting, as most of the people in the latest generations are takers rather than givers. Their attitude is that it is all about me and very rarely about others. It is extremely disturbing that they believe it’s more important to build these fields than maintain a memorial honoring veterans.

As I have stated in the past, where is the plan to maintain these fields after installation. Without that, we are just throwing money into a big, black hole. In five to seven years when the astroturf needs to be replaced, where will the funding come from? There are way too many unanswered questions to move this project along at this time.

In closing, I would advise the Community Preservation Committee to withhold funding until there is a complete plan in place to restore the north stands and to maintain these areas for years to come.

Dishonoring veterans and destroying memorials is against what most Americans believe in and those involved should sit down and analyze their moral character for even thinking that it is acceptable.

Tom Flaherty