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$400,000 state grant to help fund Bertram Field upgrades

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The state has awarded the city a $400,000 grant to help fund the cost of installing synthetic turf and renovating the existing track at Bertram Field. Salem was among seven communities receiving a combined $2.7 million under the state’s Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities program, which helps municipalities, particularly those in urban areas, acquire parkland, renovate existing parks, or build new parks and other outdoor recreation facilities. City officials have committed to paying the remaining costs, which they estimate may exceed $1 million. Located on 7 acres behind Collins Middle School, Bertram Field is the home of the city’s high school football team and is also used by a variety of sports programs. In applying for funding, city officials said the field’s grass surface cannot withstand constant use by multiple sports leagues, which limits programming. They said the installation of modern, synthetic turf could ease that problem, allowing for heavier use of the field with limited maintenance. The School Department has committed to transferring custody of the field to the Parks and Recreation Department to ensure its permanent protection as parkland, according to the city.

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