SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 13, 2014

Group plans upgrades at field

BY PAUL LEIGHTON
STAFF WRITER

---- — BEVERLY — Beverly Little League is planning to spend $120,000 to upgrade the Harry Ball Field complex on Essex Street.

League officials said they plan to spend most of that money, about $100,000, to construct a new stand-alone building with larger restrooms. The other $20,000 would be spent on improvements to the concession stand.

“We’re trying to keep the facility as modern as possible and as safe as possible and as (handicapped-accessible) as possible,” said Beverly Little League Vice President Bruce Doig, who is also the city’s parks and recreation director. “It’s one of the nicest Little League facilities in Massachusetts, if not all of New England.”

Harry Ball Field is owned by the city but was built by and is maintained by Beverly Little League. Doig said the $120,000 in improvements would be a donation from Beverly Little League to the city.

In exchange for the upgrades, the city would give Beverly Little League a 15-year lease to operate the concession stand. Doig said the organization would use revenue from the stand to pay off the $120,000 cost of the upgrades.

Little League has always run the concession stand at Harry Ball Field, but Doig said the city wants to formalize the arrangement through a lease.

The city was legally required to issue a request for proposals on the project so that qualified parties can bid on the lease. Bidders must agree to pay for the $120,000 upgrade. The deadline to submit proposals is March 17.

Harry Ball Field, which was built in 1994, includes two lighted baseball fields, a concession stand and restrooms. Doig said the concession stand needs ventilation and fire suppression systems, and the restrooms need more space.

Lines often form at the restrooms during tournament games or the popular annual Momball tournament, Doig said. The new restrooms would have three stalls each in the men’s and women’s rooms instead of only one, he said.

Harry Ball Field is also used by Beverly Girls Softball League.

Doig said officials are hoping the work on the concession stand can be completed by late April or early May. The target date for the restroom building is July, when Harry Ball Field will host the state Little League tournament.

“The state loves coming here to Beverly because the facility is so great,” Doig said. “This is just another step toward keeping it a great facility.”

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.