A $1 million, five-year capital drive aimed at raising money for landmark upgrades to Gloucester High School's Newell Stadium, has already sparked more than $150,000 in pledges — five days before the planned kickoff for the project.
Dick Wilson, vice president of the Gloucester Fishermen's Athletic Association that's coordinating the innovative fund-raising effort, said that, since the announcement last week of a plan built around having 1,000 people pledge $200 a year over five years, the GFAA has received signed pledges from 152 people.
And Wilson noted that 8 to 10 people have sent checks for the full $1,000 "right off the top."
The $1 million fund-raising effort is aimed at spearheading a $3.8 million makeover for the stadium that hosts Gloucester High's football, soccer, field hockey teams — and would be home to the boys' and girls' track teams if the track were not condemned as unsafe, forcing those athletes to compete exclusively on the road. Beyond directly funding work on the stadium, the capital drive would also set the stage for the GFAA to reel in matching grants to advance the project, Wilson has said.
And the jump start for the drive comes in advance of a "Newell Renewal" celebration and fund-raiser set for Sunday from 7 to 10 p.m. at Cruiseport Gloucester.
Wilson and his wife Barbara, who is also coordinating the Sunday event, said the Sunday gala, which will include munchies, DJ music and dancing, will be limited to 300 tickets, which are priced at $25 apiece.
Proceeds from that event also go to the GFAA's Newell Stadium effort. Tickets are available at Tony's Variety store on Washington Street, and Destino's sub shop on Prospect Street.