, Newburyport, MA


May 1, 2014

Approval of new facilities a landmark moment

The moments in sports that usually resonate the most are the big wins, the great comebacks and the championship showdowns under the bright lights. But sometimes the moments that have the most lasting impact don’t take place on the diamond or the gridiron, but in the boardroom or at City Hall.

We see it in the professional leagues when the players and owners hash out the future direction of their leagues during collective bargaining agreements. We see it in college when schools and conferences debate on everything from how much food an athlete can receive to how billions of dollars of television revenue will be distributed.

Now, we’re seeing it at the local level, and this week voters in four communities got together and made a commitment to invest in local athletic facilities, a commitment that will benefit young athletes for years to come.

On Monday night, the Newburyport City Council approved spending $1.7 million to tear down the deteriorating North stands at War Memorial Stadium to make room for a brand-new, multi-purpose turf field at the high school that can be used for soccer, lacrosse and field hockey, in addition to football.

Meanwhile, about 10 miles upriver, the voters comprising Merrimac, West Newbury and Groveland’s Town Meetings Monday approved plans for a new $2.6 million athletic complex for Pentucket Regional High School, which will encompass a new eight-lane track with a grass infield, six tennis courts, fields for softball, field hockey and a separate practice field.

If all goes according to plan, Pentucket’s new field hockey field, track and tennis courts should be finished by the summer and ready to use by the start of the upcoming school year. The other two fields at Pentucket would be finished by September of 2015.

Work on Newburyport’s new turf field is reportedly going to begin by the end of the summer, meaning it would likely be ready for use by the start of the 2015 football season as well.

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