Dick Wilson, fund-raiser extraordinaire with the Gloucester Fishermen Athletic Association and driving force behind the “Renewal Newell” effort, swears there was never a time when he didn’t believe the four-year fund-raising drive would be a success (the Times, Page 5, Thursday, Sept. 5).
And he’s been proven right. Tonight, the community will get its first, real close-up look at the “new” Newell Stadium, when the city and the GFAA host a parade of former GHS athletes at 5:30, official opening ceremonies and a ribbon cutting at 6, and the Gloucester High Fishermen’s opening 2013 football game at 7:30.
But as residents and other fans file their way into the sparkling $3.5 million new facility – with new grandstand, playing field, track, lights, restroom facilities and other amenities — they should also consider what this project represents. For it truly epitomizes what can happen when a group of residents, the local business and corporate communities, city government and even state government all pull together for the same cause.
Let’s face it, the GFAA’s well-organized $1,000 drive — which drew more than 300 residents pledging $1,000 each through five annual payments over five years — could not have succeeded in building this new facility on its own. And the city could not have placed the entire project’s $3.5 million cost on the backs of taxpayers.
But together, it all worked, and the result is a virtually new stadium that is a true source of Gloucester pride.
The truth is, this project showcases what government, the private sector and community spirit can truly do with the right commitment, and the right communication.
That’s no doubt what Wilson believed in — and we should all be thankful that he and so many others did.