I'm a born and bred Newell guy and have read with much interest about the sale of our Newell Memorial Field. This field holds tremendous memories for us all, and I would like to uphold its proud heritage. Newell Memorial should absolutely go back up for auction and should not be sold for less than the $250,000 published. That is a large and fair amount.
I am prepared to offer that amount and:
1.) Keep Newell Memorial Field in the hands of our great community. It absolutely will be available to be used by all. Our youth and students of Newell and surrounding communities need and deserve a great place to play football and other sports. The football field stays the football field.
2.) Will search, and I will ask for the help of our Hancock County Commissioners in this regard, for a clean, safe business to spur economic growth on the south side of the property (the area behind the scoreboard). A new access road will be built to access Lincoln Highway/Route 2, so as to not interfere with the field. Only a business that compliments Newell's qualities of values and hard work will be considered. My wife Lori and I will seek out the input and advice of the Newell Community Improvement Coalition, with whom I have great confidence. We will put Newell's best interests first.
3.) Will work hard with the Chester Volunteer Fire Department on hosting its Fall Bash. I want the Bash to be hugely successful. I have nothing but the utmost respect for not only them, but all firemen. They are our true heroes. Their commitment to community and dedication to service deserves much gratitude from all of us. The CVFD Bash helps finance needed equipment, and some great projects, and their generosity helps the organizations who volunteer to work it, right down to our communities. John Hissam is a great civil servant and admired leader for Chester. I am on his side and want the Bash to be successful. We can work together and I'm sure a reasonable agreement can be achieved for using Newell Memorial for that week, and it would be more cost effective than buying the whole area outright. I would even like to consult with the Newell firemen about possible fundraisers also.
I have heard an area would need to hold 8,000 people to be a suitable location for the CVFD Bash. I have researched and found that 8 square feet is needed per person to be comfortable in a fluid situation such as the Bash. From back of endzone to back of endzone would be 360-by-150 feet, which is 54,000 square feet. That divided by the 8 feet needed means 6,750 people can be on the field. That doesn't include all the massive seating in the bleacher area, all the sidelines up and down on both sides, and the concessional area. There would be an abundance of room to host the Bash, with even room to grow substantially, without needing the south side of the property (behind the scoreboard). Thus, the south side could easily be developed, which is what I intend to do. The Bash would absolutely not need the whole, entire property to be an enormous success.
The Hancock County Board of Education should be applauded for its efforts through all this. They want what's best for the students, teachers, future generations, and the employees of the school system. They advertised a minimum bid of $250,000 not $250,000 or best offer. Superintendent Smith, board President Durante, and the board members are not only just following the law, they are looking out for all our children, and the great teachers and employees of Hancock County. The board is looking out for us and we owe them a debt of gratitude. Despite much public criticism, they are holding firm to their convictions and principles about what's best for Hancock County residents. Newell Memorial should absolutely go back to auction. We should all want Hancock County Schools to be compensated fairly.
I love Newell and its people. Most of us went to Jefferson, then on to Wells, and Oak Glen. We are made up of hard workers, great civic leaders, proud veterans, business people, teachers, churches, and people from all walks of life. One thing is sure, I'll do everything I can to preserve our great heritage, and to facilitate economic progress, growth, and development. Newell deserves it.