US Department of Interior Grant Helps Hinchliffe Stadium
The US Department of the Interior and the National Park Service announced yesterday over $12 million in grants to 51 projects in 24 states to help preserve various sites that highlight the struggles and histories of African-Americans in the United States in the 20th century. Among those projects is one that protects a historic Negro League stadium in New Jersey.
$500,000 will be given to the City of Paterson, New Jersey for their “Hinchliffe Stadium Façade Rehabilitation Phase 2” project. The first phase of the stadium’s rehabilitation is already underway at the former home of the Paterson sports stadium, home to a Negro League team in the 1930’s. The project itself is a $1.5 million undertaking that aims to restore and renovate the stadium’s façade, ticket booths, and decorative tiles. Construction crews are also working to stabilize parts of the structure that have been damaged by years of water and vegetative damage after years of neglect.
Paterson Mayor Joey Torres has been a champion of the project stating, “I’m very proud to see that after 20 years we are finally able to initiate Phase 1 of a rehabilitation of this stadium,” during the restoration’s groundbreaking late last year.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke stated that these grants are important to America’s history.
“An integral part of the Interior and National Park Service mission is to help preserve and tell America’s story,” said Zinke. “These grants will benefit places across the nation that help tell an essential piece of that story through the African American struggle for civil rights and equality.”
National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith echoed the sentiments made by Secretary Zinke, and says that working with locals connected to the projects is important to their success.
“Through the work and engagement of public and private partners, these grants will preserve a defining part of our nation’s diverse history,” said Smith. “By working with local communities to preserve these historic places and stories, we will help tell a more complete narrative of the African American experience in the pursuit of civil rights.”
Funding for the grants came from Congress in 2016 when the African American Civil Rights Grants Program and Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) were approved. The HPF uses revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf to provide assistance for these and other restoration projects around the country. Congress increased funding from $8 million to $13 million in 2017, the second consecutive year it has done so. Grant-supported projects include surveys and documentation, interpretation and education, oral histories, architectural services, historic structure reports, planning, and physical preservation.
Hinchliffe Stadium is designated as a national historic landmark, the only baseball stadium in the country with such a designation.
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