Stadium use to get public hearing
NASHUA – The Board of Education will hold a public information meeting Tuesday night to discuss possible uses of Stellos Stadium.
Board members are seeking both positive and negative feedback about the possibility of opening the field to organizations outside the realm of youth athletics. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at the south campus of Nashua High School.
Since the stadium opened in 2001, it has been restricted to being used only for youth sports by a stipulation set down by the Planning Board.
Mark Conrad, the school district’s business administrator, said school officials will probably ask that a new policy be put in place so that every time a request from an adult group comes in, the school board doesn’t place so that every time a request from an adult group comes in, the school board does not have to bring it to the Planning Board for approval.
“We don’t want to have to keep coming back,’’ Conrad told the Planning Board at a meeting Thursday night, where that panel refused to allow the stadium to be used for a drum and bugle corps competition in July.
School board member Rick Dowd would like to see the stadium be under complete control of his board.
Dowd said Tuesday’s meeting was prompted by discussion between board members about covering the stadium with an inflatable dome during the winter when the field is currently not in use. If the city funded the dome, the stadium could be used for youth athletic practices, and adult organizations possibly could be allowed to use the dome for a fee, he said.
If the field were to be covered, nearby residents would not be disturbed by any noise coming from the stadium, Dowd said, adding that the board is hoping to hear from stadium neighbors about that idea Tuesday.
John Motta, who donated $125,000 for naming rights to the field at the stadium, is an advocate for allowing the field to be used for adult sports. Motta, the chairman of the Soccer Council of Nashua, believes the school board should have complete control over the usage of the field, without the involvement of the appointed Planning Board. That way, if people don’t like the decisions the school board makes, they can vote for different members, he said.
“I have total trust they will make the correct decisions for what’s good for the community,” he said of the current school board.
Motta feels opening the stadium to more than youth sports would have more positives than negatives, though many neighbors of the stadium have objected to eliminating the Planning Board’s youth-only stipulation.
Motta said school and youth sports should have the greatest priority at the field, but the facility should be open to others, especially during the summer months.
“It just sits there not being used,” said Motta, who would like to see the school board take advantage of the field to generate income.
Dowd said he is not crazy about the idea of opening the field to adult organizations during the summer, and said there are some youth sports teams that already use the field during that season.
“No one wants to have a youth activity bumped by adults at Stellos Stadium, ever,” Dowd said.
Correspondent Tom West contributed to this report. Andrea Bushee can be reached at 594-5860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.