EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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June 25, 2013

Mayor: Councilors didn't do homework on stadium grant

Email suggests they should have known state grant can't be used for stadium repairs

(Continued)

The mayor said he planned to apply for a PARC grant, but not on behalf of the stadium. He said he wants it to make improvements to Winnekenni Park and the rail trail the city is developing along the Bradford side of the Merrimack River. He said applying for the grant for an inappropriate project, such as making repairs to a sports complex, could jeopardize the city’s chances of receiving any money at all from the program.

After the meeting, the mayor said he received confirmation from state officials and a member of his rail trail advisory committee that the stadium is not eligible for PARC funds.

Larry Olasky, a member of the Friends of the Bradford Rail Trail committee, sent each city councilor an email after their vote last week, asking if any of them reviewed information he sent them a month ago that explained the “guidelines and priorities” for the PARC grant program.

“Did anyone look at the documents?” Olasky wrote. “I even called the person at the state who gave some workshops about the state funding opportunities. She said the stadium was not eligible for a PARC grant.” The last sentence was in bold-face type.

Fiorentini passed along Olasky’s email to The Eagle-Tribune, but the mayor could not be reached yesterday to comment on this story.

In a brief phone interview yesterday, Olasky said he spoke to a state official in charge of the PARC program and other state grants, and that she confirmed to him that the stadium does not qualify for the program.

“My concern is that if the city applies for a grant we are not eligible for, the state is going to think we don’t know what we are doing and we won’t get anything,” Olasky said.

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