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Crocker Field Work May Sideline Teams

May 10, 2019 GMT

FITCHBURG -- Plans to replant the grass on Crocker Field as part of restoration efforts could prompt several school and community sports teams to find another place to play in the fall.

The Crocker Field Restoration Committee had a study done on the field and met with a turf specialist who gave options, said Fitchburg High School Athletic Director Ray Cosenza, a member of the committee.

“A lot of the preliminary work is in the works,” he said.

No official plans -- including picking a business to do the replanting -- have been made yet, Cosenza added.

School Committee Vice Chairman Peter Stephens, another member of the restoration committee, said Monday that the project likely won’t start until after June and is expected to be big and costly. He didn’t provide specific figures.

Cosenza recommended that all school sports but varsity football be moved off Crocker Field in the fall if restoration is underway.

The other sports teams that use the field include freshmen and junior football, boys and girls soccer, and field hockey. Sometimes youth football plays there too.

Plans about where the teams would play haven’t been made yet, he said, noting that the new athletic director will help make those decisions.

Superintendent Bob Jokela said Tuesday that an option for football home games could be Eliott Field at Fitchburg State University.

Other work the Crocker Field Restoration Committee is looking to do is repair part of a wall not covered by the grandstand and fix lighting at the field, Cosenza said.

Crocker Field celebrated its centennial last year. In 2001, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Crocker Field Historic District.

Fundraising in the past year has helped support restoration and repair work.

Last year, Mark Waitkus, the official artist for the Red Sox who attended high school in the region, donated original prints of Crocker Field. The Crocker family pooled together money to buy the prints for $5,000 and donated the money to the restoration committee.

The committee also built a brick walkway to the field and let people purchase regular or granite bricks that went into it.

Cosenza said the committee sold more than 400 bricks and that the fund raiser exceeded his expectations.

“I know what a difference (the committee) has made to Crocker, a facility that is 100-years-old and we feel is a gem of the city,” he said.

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