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Polishing up Pierce: E.P. athletic complex receives much-needed renovations

Grant, local dollars allow for necessary improvements

By Mike Rego
Posted 8/6/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — As social gathering limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been loosened a bit in recent weeks, more and more residents as well as visitors to the city are getting a …

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Please support local news coverage –

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Polishing up Pierce: E.P. athletic complex receives much-needed renovations

Grant, local dollars allow for necessary improvements

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — As social gathering limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been loosened a bit in recent weeks, more and more residents as well as visitors to the city are getting a chance to the view and enjoy the latest improvements made to the East Providence's venerable athletic jewel, the Pierce Field Complex.

According to site manager Tony Vieira, the baseball field, basketball courts and stadium proper have received between $300,000 and $400,000 worth of upgrades over the last 12 to 18 months. Most of the monies come from governmental grants dollars procured by the city with the remainder being provided by municipal Capital Improvement expenditures.

The basketball area has been renovated and expanded. The two tennis courts have been removed, allowing the hoops location to double in size to four playing surfaces with eight rims. The existing lighting remained, but Mt. Vieira said all of the internal wiring and the main power source are new.

Of note, new 10-foot high fencing now surrounds the courts for both security and aesthetic purposes.

The space can also accommodate two “fields” for futsal, typically a five-a-side version of soccer.

The baseball stadium improvements include refurbishment of the old backstop with new fencing, fabric covering behind the plate and hardware.

A new scoreboard and public address system are now available and in use by local legion, men’s amateur and AAU tournament teams.

The diamond also features new handicap and regular seating behind the backstop, fittingly in East Providence "red" in replacement of the old blue seats.

Mr. Vieira noted throughout the entire facility handicap access has been significantly improved, including new and refurbished walkways and restrooms.

Those walking paths lead into Pierce Stadium itself where work has been ongoing for nearly two years now.

The main entrance to the field has been cleared of the arborvitaes trees and now includes new fencing and cement entry area along with some additonal stadium-style seating.

In the stands near midfield, new handicap seats are in place and handicap accessibility greatly improved. Again, the seats inside the stadium once blue are now red in the colors of the high school teams.

All of the restrooms in the complex, including those inside the stadium, have been painted, had new lighting installed along with an application of epoxy flooring.

The stadium, likewise, has a new scoreboard and PA system. Also new is a paved access road behind the baseball field, allowing for buses to more readily enter the facility.

The pathway between the diamond and the stadium has been paved as well, making maintenance of the complex a bit easier for staff.

As for the future, Mr. Vieira said a public water park, approved and funded, should be installed and ready for use by the summer of 2021.

In addition, by next spring, permanent netting to protect the basketball courts from baseball foul balls will be in place as will new netting for a batting cage.

Next year should also see the old softball field at the corner of the lot near Fort Street become a viable area for recreational and athletic use. Mr. Vieira said the old field wasn’t long enough for adult leagues to use with the increased technology of modern bats and balls. So, the open space has already been over-seeded and top dressed once with a plan to do so again in the fall.

— East Providence Post and eastbayri.com staff photographer Rich Dionne shot the accompanying gallery of photos.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.