Dr. Sean Dunne, a sociology professor at Shawnee State University has submitted a proposal for a $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant for improvements and the preservation of Spartan Municipal Stadium.
“I had a student inform me about the opportunity to apply for the grant,” explained Dunne. “Another student suggested that we use the grant to make some updates to the stadium since it’s such an important part of Portsmouth history.”
The stadium itself was built in 1930 and plays an important role in early National Football League (NFL) history by being one the earliest professional football stadiums built. Eventually, the Portsmouth Spartans left to become the Detroit Lions, leaving the stadium empty.
Today, the stadium is utilized for community events and high school sports, it is also the home field for the Portsmouth Warriors semi-pro football league.
In Dunne’s proposal, he states, “We do not want this stadium to be abandoned. We currently have a mix of high school sports that are played in the stadium, and we are very interested in expanding these activities. We want to do this while ensuring that athletes are provided with a safe environment for sports. We would like to use the Neighborhood Assist grant money to pay for much needed improvements to improve the overall safety of the stadium’s facilities. It has been difficult to secure funding in a city that has many financial burdens, and we believe that an investment using Neighborhood Assist program will not only improve the facilities, but will also increase appreciation for a piece of sports history. Our city faces a number of budget challenges, and it is therefore very difficult to obtain funding for required improvements.”
The Spartan Stadium project he proposed made in to the top 200 projects of a competitive nation-wide search. Now those top 200 projects are being voted on and the top 40 projects will receive the $25,000.
“$25,000 will go such a long way in improving this vital community resource,” said Adam Phillips, Southern Ohio Port Authority’s Asset and Site Development Manager. “As you all know, Spartan Stadium was identified through the America’s Best Communities competition as an invaluable asset for the development of our riverfront area.”
With its ties to local history and the NFL, Dunne is hopeful that the project will see the funding it is seeking.
Although State Farm provides the grant dollars, it us up to the community to ensure that it continues in the competition. Community members must vote to keep the project in the top 40, and can vote up to ten times per day. As of Oct. 26 the project is currently in fifth place, but will need continual voting to maintain its position. Voting will be open until Nov. 4. To vote, please visit, www.neighborhoodassist.com/entry/1984123
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.