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March 25, 2014

Compromise paves way for $600K in stadium repairs

Mayor, commission agree to share city's $188K cost for work

HAVERHILL — Mayor James Fiorentini and the Stadium Commission have reached an agreement that will allow the city to make almost $600,000 in repairs and improvements to the Lincoln Avenue sports complex known as Trinity Stadium.

The money will be used to replace old and poor lighting and repair the worst of several crumbling and closed sections of grandstand.

Members of the the Stadium Commission were surprised and concerned when they learned earlier this month that a $588,000 state grant for the work requires a local match of $188,000, Stadium Commission member William Moynihan said.

But Moynihan said the commission, mayor and School Department have agreed to share the cost.

Under the arrangement, the city will borrow $100,000 and then equally share annual payments of $10,000 on the debt for 20 years. The commission will also pay $50,000 from its capital improvement fund, and the city will cover the final $38,000 with “in-kind” services. Those services include providing school and city employees to manage the project, according to the agreement.

The commission will pay its portion of the loan from revenue it receives by selling advertisements at the stadium, including an annual payment from Trinity EMS ambulance company for naming rights to the facility.

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.

City Council is scheduled to consider the borrowing request at tonight’s meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The city must borrow the whole $588,000, but the state will reimburse the city $400,000, Fiorentini said.

“This is an extremely small amount of money to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs to the stadium,” the mayor said of the city’s $5,000 per year payment on the loan. “We are extremely grateful to the state, especially Representative Brian Demspey, for obtaining this grant.”

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