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April 4, 2014

Grant boosts stadium project

METHUEN — The state awarded the city a $100,000 grant to begin design work to install two turf fields at Nicholson Stadium, giving the project another boost and pushing total amount of grant and donation funding over $1 million.

State legislators in announcing the grant said it would be available immediately from the Gateway Cities Park Grant fund to pay for design work, which city officials said has already been put out to bid. Estimates for the total project top $2.8 million. The city has applied for additional grants and the legislators are looking at funding from the state budget.

“We’ll be looking at other private sources, too,” Mayor Stephen Zanni said.

Bids for design and engineering services to install turf on the main field, on the practice field and to replace the visitors’ bleachers have already been advertised and will be accepted until May 8, William Buckley, director of community development, said.

At the same time, bids for architectural design and construction of the new clubhouse for the existing foundation have also been advertised with the same deadline. Zanni and Buckley said they are shooting for construction to begin in July or August and for work to be completed by the end of this year.

With design and engineering completed on the fields and bleachers this year, Zanni said those projects will be ready to go as soon as funding is available. Officials estimated a cost of $1.3 million to install turf on the main field and replace the bleachers. The practice field would be an additional $800,000.

The clubhouse project is estimated to be about $750,000, Zanni said.

Since mid-March, the city has announced the collection of $500,000 in private funding toward building a new clubhouse. The media company Clear Channel Communications, which plans to replace a billboard off Interstate 93 at Pelham Street with a digital sign, will give the city $200,000 of its contractual operations payment to the city upfront.

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