EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School softball field renovation project, directed under the auspices of head coach Rob Traverse, received yet another significant boost from the state when Sen. Daniel DaPonte and Rep. Helio Melo provided an additional $6,000 in grant dollars from the General Assembly.Sen. DaPonte delivered the check to Coach Traverse and three of his softball seniors — Lindsee Allienello, Lauren Discuillo and Lucianna Medici — Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 17, on the high school grounds.
The meeting of the group actually took place on the third base side of the softball diamond where in two week’s time a cement dugout will be built along with a like-structure on the first base line. The city-based John Soares Construction won the bid for the dugout project and will build the structures, which will each include eight-foot storage closets.
“I think this is another example of our investment not only in the school but also in the athletic program here at East Providence High School,” Sen. DaPonte said. “These senior athletes will be able to enjoy this new field and hopefully other players will do the same for years to come.”
The $6,000 provided by Sen. DaPonte and Rep. Melo comes on the heels of a similar $7,000 grant given to the project by District 66 House Rep. Joy Hearn earlier this fall.
To date, Coach Traverse and the softball program have raised some $18,500 for renovations, which will include the installation of permanent fencing down the foul lines and a temporary outfield fence 200-feet equidistant in its entirety for games next spring. The loss of transportation funds for busing to and from the Townies’ former home base at Pierce Field is one of the main reasons why Coach Traverse initiated the refurbishment effort.
“We will continue to work hard to help the schools in East Providence,” said Rep. Melo. “The facilities at our schools are deteriorating, and it’s important for us to improve them where we can. I also know the children are having a hard time with the transportation cuts, so I think it’s important to keep the playing facilities on the school grounds up to date.”
‘The Friends of Townie Athletics organization has given $2,000. Small businesses in the area and supporters have donated another $3,500. Coach Traverse is also hoping the EPHS field will soon be selected by Home Depot as of its national program to rehabilitate dilapidated athletic facilities.
“I also think this is an example of how we as representatives in the House and Senate can help give back to our community. That’s what we’re there to do,” Sen. DaPonte added. “It’s nice to be able to do something like this. It’s much easier to do these kinds of one-off projects rather than trying to fund middle school sports or other programs. We were able to deliver in this instance, and hopefully we can continue to do so in the future.”