Welcome home, Revere outdoor track team.
It’s been years since the Revere High School (RHS) outdoor track team has been able to have a home meet, and even more years since the RHS football team has been able to play on a surface that wasn’t transformed into a wavy dirt patch by midseason.
All of that is about to change, though, with the formal announcement Tuesday afternoon of a $2.72 million state Gateway Cities grant to fund 70 percent of a complete rehabilitation of the Harry Della Russo Stadium on Park Avenue.
“I believe that a new state-of-the-art facility in our downtown area will be another step towards revitalizing our central business district and that it will dramatically impact the quality and quantity of opportunities that currently exist for recreational and sports-related activities for our children,” said Mayor Dan Rizzo.
He indicated that the project will begin in June 2013, and will conclude in May 2015.
With several hundred bundled up high school athletes and their coaches providing the backdrop, officials presented the plans and improvements to the crowd that had gathered at the frigid afternoon meeting.
In addition to putting a new, regulation running track in place, the revamped stadium will include new seating for 2,250 people, a modern press box, a field house, multi-purpose artificial field, tennis courts and basketball courts. There will also be ADA compliant restrooms, locker rooms, a concession area and fencing to go around the field.
The Stadium was constructed in 1935.
“This money does not just appear, but is part of an entire budget process,” said state Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan. “When the governor talks about investment in education, innovation and infrastructure, he is talking about these projects.”
House Speaker Bob DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said it is long overdue that the Stadium got a facelift.
“This Stadium really has so much history and it is only appropriate it be reinvigorated,” he said. “This project will do just that…Revere will see yet another one of its landmarks revived. It’s just another step the City is taking towards complete revitalization.”
State Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein (D-Revere) said she hopes to see the track team and the football team shine on the field and in the lanes at some point in 2015.
“This is an exciting day for the neighbors who thought this would never be done, and also for the track team,” said Reinstein. “They will finally be able to compete here again. I actually can’t wait until 2015 and we’re all here at the Stadium watching the Revere Patriots beat the Winthrop Vikings on Thanksgiving Day.”
Plans do call for the Stadium to be enlarged towards the existing basketball courts and tennis courts. Those courts would be re-located to the northwest corner of the Stadium, which is now currently open space.
Most importantly to many in the community, the barbed wire and tall cinder block wall would be taken down – eliminating the feeling that one is entering a penitentiary.