Suffolk University and the City of Boston have inked a deal that would allow Suffolk University sports teams to use East Boston Memorial Stadium as its home turf for baseball, softball and soccer teams and Suffolk University will spend nearly $500,000 on park improvements and upgrades. The 10 year deal was finalized late last week.
“It’s especially rewarding to bring the benefits of Suffolk University to the neighborhood that I have called home for my
entire life,” said Suffolk University Vice President of Governmental Affairs John Nucci. “We hope to contribute, not just to the athletic picture but also through scholarships and other partnerships, provide more and more East Boston young people greater access and exposure to higher education. “
Nucci said the University, located on Beacon Hill, would make a significant investment in the stadium as well as local sports programs.
“We have been looking at places that we can call home,” said Nucci. “Over the past few months we saw a great opportunity to make East Boston the one place our teams could call home.”
Nucci said that the university began talking with the city and elected officials about the idea of using East Boston Stadium while making significant upgrades to the field.
“What we heard time and again was that this was a great idea as long as no East Boston sports programs were displaced,” he said. “So we came to an agreement to bring benefits to East Boston and use the space when East Boston programs and teams are not.”
Nucci said the plan is to turn the Memorial Stadium into a better field by adding two electronic scoreboards, batting cages for Suffolk University, East Boston High School and Little League use. The university would also add new bleachers and storage the stadium grounds as well as permanent and semi-permanent fencing to make the ball park regulation size and convert the little league field into a regulation softball field. The university also pledges to build a training facility inside the stadium’s main building.
The university will also make a $100,000 per year contribution to the City of Boston so the main building could be staffed full time from spring until fall.
“This is an exciting partnership for the City and for Suffolk University,” said Mayor Martin Walsh. “The investment Suffolk will make in East Boston Memorial Park and Stadium is not only great for the University, but also for the community that uses these facilities.”
City Councilor Sal LaMattina said by staffing the main building, improving the field for the University’s use and the neighborhood’s use Suffolk is making the area more active, exposing kids to college life and college sports and forging relationships both on and off the field.
Suffolk University is also committed to making an annual contribution to the East Boston Athletic Board’s Annual Banquet.
“We will sponsor that event because we think it is an import event and something that brings together athletes and stresses the importance of athletics in East Boston,” said Nucci.
The university will give annual donations to East Boston High School sports and aside from the contribution to growing Eastie sports teams, Suffolk University will also give two full four year scholarships to two East Boston students.
“What we have here is a partnership and a joint use agreement where all East Boston uses stay in place and Suffolk University will come in use the space at times other than when East Boston sports programs are using the stadium,” said Nucci. “In the end both East Boston and Suffolk University get a great facility.”