Winners for the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grants were announced on Nov. 30. one of which, was the Spartan Municipal Stadium renovation project.
Proposed by Shawnee State University Professor of Sociology, Dr. Sean Dunne, the Spartan Municipal Stadium project, secured second place in the competition, thanks to votes from members of the community, winning the $25,000 grant.
Built in the 1930s, the stadium played 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.
Plans for the funds were announced Saturday, May 6, at the stadium.
“Almost a hundred years ago, the citizens of Portsmouth passed the levy to have the stadium built, back then it was a universal stadium and it stands here today,” said Kayser. “Over the years we’ve seen some great teams, from the NFL Spartans, the ‘67 Notre Dame State Champions, the ‘70 Notre Dame State Champions and the 2000 Portsmouth High School AP State Champions. Right now, the stadium is functional, it’s not easy but it is in desperate need of restoration. It’s not going to heal itself, it’s not going to restore itself. Through the competition, we can see that the community really likes this place. We don’t want to see it torn down or deteriorate anymore.”
Throughout the winter, Dunne and Tom Kayser, Notre Dame’s Booster Club president, worked together to brainstorm which projects to were at the top of the list.
The first five projects on the list include fixing the sprinkler system, which has already been completed, providing security to prevent graffiti and break-ins, repairing the visitor’s side ticket window, and replacing the press box roof. With the leftover funds, they hope to have graffiti professionally removed and sealant placed on the brick to easily remove new graffiti that may appear.
Art work, which was commissioned by the Portsmouth Bicentennial Committee, was also unveiled that afternoon. Located at the entrance and various tunnels throughout the stadium, panels were hung that depict the chronological history of the facility. There are also five banners that feature great players that have played at the stadium, these banners include players Jim Thorpe, Earl “Dutch” Clark, Glenn Presnell, Chuck Ealey and Gerald Cadogan.
Cadogan was present at the kickoff event, and said it was surreal seeing a banner of himself inside the stadium.
Cadogan played football for Portsmouth High School from 2000 until 2004 and went on to play for Penn State University from 2004 through 2008. He also played in the NFL and Canadian Football League. Cadogan is an assistant football coach at Portsmouth High School.
“I’m definitely blessed and privileged to have the many opportunities God’s given me and I’m glad to be a part of this community and be able to empower the next generations. That’s what I strive to do as a Coach at Portsmouth High School, I’m just trying to empower others to have the success that God’s blessed me with,” said Cadogan.
If you would like to contribute to the restoration of the stadium, the Scioto Foundations will be managing the funds. Two accounts have been opened with the foundation, a capital work fund to pay for projects and an endowment fund to maintain the stadium. Donations can be made by contacting the Scioto Foundation at 740-354-4612.
To follow the progress and updates on the stadium, you can visit, www.facebook.com/spartanmunicipalrenovationproject.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-353-3101 ext. 1932, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.