By Carol Britton Meyer
Since the opening of the Hull Secondary School grass pitch in September 2019, it has been widely used not only for Hull-based sports, but also by some out-of-town teams.
For example, the high school field hosted the 2022 Shore Cup Memorial Day soccer tournament on May 28-29 and was the site of a regional lacrosse tournament. Hull Public Schools Director of Sports and Intramural/Sports Facilities Coordinator Connor Duhaime, a graduate of Hull High in 2011, is the point person for out-of-town teams interested in renting the facilities.
“Although we are very lucky to have such a beautiful field, it is the only field in town that can host these events. This means we have to be aware of the times and dates we are planning to make sure we don’t double-book,” he told the Hull Times.
Supporters of the city assembly’s vote authorizing the bond needed to build the $2.1 million project cited the potential for revenue from land rentals. An added benefit associated with active use of the land is that out-of-town players and their families sometimes stop at local shops and restaurants on the way to or from the games.
To organize an event on the grass, forms are filled out by the team wishing to rent the field. The forms are then sent to the sales department to create an invoice based on the land use request.
“We charge a fair price to away teams to use the pitch, but that same fee does not apply to Hull’s youth sports programs, such as football or soccer,” Duhaime explained. “The more kids actively playing sports in Hull, the better. Children love to play on the grass field, [and this positive experience] can lead them to continue playing sports in high school and beyond.
Youth teams are charged $45 an hour when hosting games on the field, Diane Saniuk, Hull Public Schools Affairs Administrator, told The Hull Times.
“It covers the cost of the caretaker to set up and clean as well as open, close and clean the bathrooms,” she said.
Rental of the land by out-of-town crews has generated approximately $18,500 so far. According to Saniuk, funds raised through the rental of turf pitches go into a revolving account which is used for maintenance and repairs to the pitch, payment of obligations on the pitch and eventual replacement of the turf carpet.
Funds from the sale of field signs go to the field advertising account, which is used for the same purpose. The balance in this account is currently approximately $75,000.
Duhaime understands the importance of local businesses generating revenue during the summer months “to help them get through the slower winter days.”
During the Memorial Day tournament, for example, he noticed a number of children in uniform entering restaurants in Hull with their families, along Nantasket beach, and shopping at the Village Market, which helps the local economy.
“While I’m not sure how much revenue this brings to local businesses, I’m confident that the more we rent out our land and run large weekend tournaments, the greater the positive impact on revenue generation for local businesses. businesses here in town,” he said.
Shipwreck’d owner Adrian Muir, who is also president of the Hull Nantasket Chamber of Commerce, said he certainly noticed an increase in business over Memorial Day weekend with the restaurant near the school .
Scoops owner Kathy Prevett also saw a surge in customers over the weekend – most notably, entire teams dressed in their uniforms stopping in for ice cream.
“Paragon Boardwalk was definitely busier too,” Muir said.
The Hull teams have priority when it comes to planning on the grass, however.
“During the school year, things are different. Our sports teams and Hull High School youth teams use the majority of the time on the field,” Duhaime said. “Having said that, I am always willing to consider requests to use the land on weekends during the fall and spring seasons. [when they are not being used by Hull teams].”
Muir plans to contact Duhaime in hopes of getting advance information on the turf pitch schedule to share on the Chamber’s website, so local businesses are prepared for a potential influx of customers at these times. dates.
The calendar display would also inform Hullonians who enjoy attending games sporting events they might not otherwise experience, offering them a chance to “support our local kids” and other athletes in their hometown, did he declare.
Duhaime’s role is multi-faceted, including building relationships with Amateur Athletic Union teams, select organizations, and travel/club leagues with the goal of hosting annual grass field tournaments and ” build traditions” in Hull, he explained. “Were [continually] trying to publicize our grass pitch.
The AAU involves high-level competitions for a number of sports. There is usually a fee to participate.
The grass field of Hull is definitely in the spotlight. Last summer, Duhaime sent a photo of the field to MaxPreps, a high school sports resource, which posted what it considered to be the most unique high school fields in the country on its social media pages.
“They picked our domain and posted a photo and an article about it, which helps big organizations notice us,” Duhaime said.
Last November, thanks to “great people here in town, we hosted USA Lacrosse Day, with banners supporting USA lacrosse and coaches and kids from the south shore playing on the ground.”
Following the event, USA Lacrosse Magazine featured an eye-catching photo of the grass field and an article about Hull’s lacrosse program.
“We also had Patriots quarterback Mac Jones and No Bull apparel shoot a commercial last summer on the field,” Duhaime said. “When I asked why Hull, they told me they were looking for an area that truly represents New England.”
Overall, Duhaime believes the artificial turf pitch has been “only good” for the community.
“I see people everyday walking the track on a sunny day or playing football with their young children for an afternoon run,” he said. “It really is a community that deserves something beautiful of its own. The work ahead will be to continue to promote and maintain what we have. I couldn’t be more excited about the future and seeing the growth over the next few years.