O’Brien, Haverhill’s high school athletic director, said requests to rent the stadium by sports teams, summer camps and for events have taken off since the initial repairs and artificial turf was installed two years ago. He said there’s great potential for further growth once the renovation is completed.
O’Brien said other parts of the facility that need repairs include the brick wall surrounding the stadium, locker rooms and the parking lot. The stadium also needs a new press box that must include an elevator due to accessibility laws, he said. The unrenovated sections of grandstand are crumbling and closed to the public.
The cost of finishing the entire project is $4.7 million, O’Brien told councilors last summer.
The stadium hosts high school baseball, football and soccer games, as well as community events such as the Fourth of July celebration, Haverhill High School graduation and concerts and festivals.
It also boasts an impressive history. The New England Patriots played their first exhibition game at the stadium in 1960, and legend has it that professional baseball players Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were at events there.
The origins of the stadium go back to 1916, when athletic fields and wooden bleachers were built there. In 1936, a brick wall was built to surround the fields, and a concrete grandstand was erected. The bricks that were used to build the wall were salvaged from the Lennox and Briggs factory in Haverhill, which burned in 1935, and the Hilliard and Tabor factory, which was abandoned.