When the city of Gloucester advanced the money to cover the remainder of the $3 million-plus Newell Stadium “renewal” project — an essential component to being able to seek bids this spring — one concern voiced among Gloucester Fishermen’s Athletic Association officials was that those participating in GFAA’s private fundraising for the project would think the task done.
Now that the bids are in, we know that’s not the case.
Yes, the low bid of $2.9 million received last week from Woburn’s Heimlich Landscaping and Construction will cover the project’s essentials — a modern turf field with the give and consistency of the Patriots’ Gillette Stadium field in Foxboro, new home stands to replace the bowed benches, and a new track that will allow Gloucester to safely host meets for the first time in years.
Yet the cash on hand, combined with bills owed for architectural and other work, is forcing the joint city and GFAA Building Committee to hold off on a red-seal coating for the new track and visitors’ stands that could transform the stadium into even more of a true centerpiece for outdoor shows, concerts and other events.
GFAA fundraising guru Dick Wilson says the existing money might scale the project back a bit, from being “an A-plus project to a B-plus project.”
But here’s hoping that those who have pledged to the grass-roots drive follow through and that others join them. An A-plus project would indeed bring the kind of stadium for which Gloucester can be proud — the kind of facility that Gloucester High School students and the entire community deserve.