Mayor Carolyn Kirk has asked the City Council to sign off on a $1.654 million loan that would provide gap financing for the Newell Stadium rehabilitation project.
The loan will allow the Gloucester Fishermen's Athletic Association (GFAA) and city to put the stadium work out to bid in June.
In order for the city to send out a request for proposals on the project, Gloucester Fishermen's Athletic Association fundraising chief Dick Wilson said, it has to have the money in hand. With much of the GFAA's Newell Renewal funds tied up in pledges, he said that can't happen without the loan.
"Due to the nature of the partnership, and the structure of the varying financial sources," Kirk said in a memo to the City Council, "there is a need for the city of Gloucester to provide gap financing in order to meet the schedule of bidding and awarding construction contracts, and breaking ground, this spring."
The GFAA will pay the city back for the loan cost as pledges come in. The city is also receiving $500,000 over a 10-year term from the New Balance Athletic Shoe Co., owned by Jim Davis, a Newton resident with a summer home in Gloucester, which bought the naming rights to the stadium's field last year.
The GFAA has turned $100,000 over to the city so far, according to Kirk's memo. It has $346,169 on hand, with $186,433 due in. The association still has $367,398 left to raise.
The city contributed a $1.5 million bond for the project and received a $500,000 state Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations grant for Communities. The grant works on a reimbursement basis.
Wilson said the project's momentum has drawn in other donations. As people see that the city and the GFAA are serious about finishing the stadium, he added, they're coming forward themselves.
"We're getting new people who are seeing that this is for real," he added.
The loan request will head to the council on May 22 for a public hearing.
If it gains council approval, Wilson said, the project will go out for bids in June, with a contract expected to be awarded by July. Crews will break ground for the new stadium in the fall with work to wrap up in the summer of 2013.
Until the new stadium goes up, most Gloucester teams will play home games at local facilities, while the Fishermen's football team will play its home games at Endicott College in Beverly.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.