Pawtucket Times: Volunteers transform Higginson Sports Complex

higginson_mural.JPGBy Joseph Fitzgerald
CENTRAL FALLS — The drab, worn-out concession stand at the Higginson Sports Complex is looking a lot more colorful today thanks to National Grid and the Red Sox Foundation, which sent a small army of volunteer painters to the city to give the complex a much-needed makeover.

About 30 National Grid employees Wednesday partnered with a handful of Red Sox Foundation members to paint the concession stand building, including a sports-themed mural on a 30-plus foot exterior wall of the building, and to spruce up the track with some minor landscaping. The commissioned mural design was created by Boston artist Howie Green.

The day-long project attracted several visitors throughout the afternoon, including Mayor James Diossa and Timothy F. Horan, president of National Grid in Rhode Island. Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster and the World Series trophies also made an appearance.

“It’s nice to be able to partner with the city of Central Falls and to do as much as we can for the community,” said Horan. “We are also very happy to establish this relationship with the Boston Red Sox and the Red Sox Foundation.”

The Higginson Avenue/Francis Corrigan Sports Complex, located at the corner of Lonsdale & Higginson Avenues, is an 8.3-acre multi-sport complex that features a baseball field, two basketball courts, a football field, a soccer field and a 3/4-mile track. The facility is used from April through October for various sports.

The tired and weathered concession stand, however, was in drastic need of a new paint job and National Grid jumped at the opportunity to tackle the job as part of its Power to Serve employee volunteer program, which supports the utility company’s goals of stewardship and community service. It’s the umbrella under which all National Grid’s volunteer activities, sponsorships and charitable activities fall.

Under National Grid's power to serve program, employees have a chance to go out into the community and help those who need it the most, says National Grid spokesperson Darlene Masse.

“It’s a chance to be out in the communities we serve and to help make a difference,” said Masse.
The Red Sox Foundation is the official team charity of the Boston Red Sox. The foundation’s primary focus is in serving the health, education, recreation, and social service needs of children and families in need across New England. The Foundation was founded in 2002, immediately after the group led by Principal Owner John Henry and Chairman Tom Werner bought the Red Sox.

“On behalf of the Red Sox Foundation, we are honored to partner with National Grid in supporting the many Rhode Island families and children in need, “ said Gena Borson, executive director of the Red Sox Foundation. “Together we are committed to making a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

The Higginson Sports Complex concession building is the third mural project since National Grid and the Boston Red Sox inaugurated their community relations initiative of “Supporting youth who serve the community” earlier this year. The two other murals were painted at the Gilbert Stuart Middle School and Boys & Girls Club, both in Providence.

For 25-year National Grid Employee Lori Spangler the mural project is a way to share some camaraderie with fellow employees while doing something to help the community.

“It’s good to see so many people come out to volunteer and help do something good for the community,” she said.


Originally published in the 9/10 edition of The Pawtucket Times and accessed online here.

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