NORTH ADAMS -- High school football could return to the Noel Field Athletic Complex in two to three years, if funding from the state Parkland Acquisition and Renovations for Communities grant program comes through over the next few years.
"It's something that's been talked about over the last five years," Community Development Director Michael Nuvallie said Wednesday during a meeting of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission. "It's been in the city's facilities development plan for quite some time. Since that plan was made, the city has acquired many more parcels of land and added them to the athletic complex."
In addition, he said the city is quite aware of issues with parking at Drury High School.
"Anywhere you play Friday night football it brings people out," Nuvallie said. "While I didn't personally attend the last game up at Drury, we know that if you could find a spot to park, you were walking to the field. You can have 4,000 people at a football game -- that's people in the downtown, who go out to eat before a game."
While there is more room at the athletic complex, he said that placing a football field there may result in the loss of the southerly softball field and require the soccer field to be overlaid on the football field.
Commission member Peter Mirante said the games played on the softball field, which is currently used by McCann Tech softball, the women's softball league and the youth softball
Mayor Richard Alcombright said that if city receives the $568,000 PARC grant, the funds would go to required Americans With Disabilities Act modifications like hard-surface meandering pathways between the fields, upgrades to bathrooms and replacement of the basketball and tennis courts. The city is also looking at adding a skate park at the Noel Field Athletic Complex for use by skateboarders and BMX bike riders. However, the mayor said the city's vision begins with a green space that includes skate park features, such as rails, jumps and curbs.
"If we can get a similar commitment next year and the year after, the thought is to do required upgrades and modifications at the Alcombright Athletic Complex next," he said. "Hopefully, we'll get the grant for a third year and then we can put in lights and bleachers [at the Noel Field Athletic Complex] and start having soccer and football down there. We may be able to full monty and put in a synthetic surface."
Commission member Mark Vadnais asked how likely the city is to get the PARC grant.
"The state typically makes an announcement in November, so we should know soon," Nuvallie said. "It's a very competitive program. However, this program, which used to be known as the Urban Self-help Grant, has made many investments into this facility over the years. They have a vested interest in this property. While the program does have an emphasis on creating new parks, we see this as an expansion of the facility and think we have a good chance."
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email