By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Despite a chance to play at Fenway Park, the Thanksgiving Day football game will instead be played in Winthrop on the new Miller Field.
The vote not to go to Fenway Park took place at a special Winthrop School Committee meeting that was held last Thursday evening. Those involved with the design, planning and construction of Miller Field are confident the field will be ready for the big game, including possession of the coveted occupancy permit.
“We were disappointed (about not playing at Fenway). We felt it would be a unique experience, but the offer was made to Winthrop and it was their decision to make,” said Revere Superintendent of Schools Dianne Kelly.
“Prior to Nov. 20 Miller Field should be ready for inspection,” said Vin Crossman, co-chair of the Miller Field Committee,
Right now the field has its turf, bleachers, a press box and asphalt over the track. Come game day, there will no concession stand and only portable potties.
After listening to those in the packed meeting room, and hearing different opinions, including an opposing one from Town Manager/Police Chief Terence Delehanty, the Winthrop School Committee voted to turn down the invitation. Delehanty advised the committee not to use Miller Field until the official turnover to the town from the contractor occurred due to liability. He also wants to make sure the handicap access is correct. The town will then turnover the field to the School Department when complete.
Superintendent of Schools Lisa Howard said she spoke with Revere Superintendent of Schools Dianne Kelly who said Revere can have its stadium ready, with notice, if needed for a Nov. 23 T-Day game.
“We can have the game here with a days notice,” Kelly said.
It’s been two years since the Vikings have had a home game. Revere understands and is proud of its new stadium.
The whole town is now trusting the field will be ready, missing a few details, but ready for a big game on Thanksgiving.
Vikings Coach Sean Driscoll said his team was struggling and delays in the beginning caused the project to take longer, something disputed by Miller Field supporters.
“The project as we know it is on time and on budget,” Crossman said, adding that the contractor Gilbane also believes the field will be ready.
The scheduled time for the Fenway game would have been Wednesday, Nov. 22 at either 5 p.m. or 7:30 p.m.