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North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi, left, met early Tuesday morning at the North Providence High School baseball field to discuss new renovation plans with, from left, NPHS baseball coach Paul Rizzo, longtime coach Lou Zammarelli, and Jim Fuoroli, facilities director for the town.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Mayor Charles Lombardi says he’s been convinced of the need to add the baseball field behind North Providence High School to existing plans to renovate the football field next to it, welcome news for those who have been trying to keep up with maintenance there for years.

“It appears as though there’s enough money to do the baseball field over with the football field,” he said.

He said Lou Zammarelli, who’s been involved in Babe Ruth League baseball for nearly 50 years, and NPHS baseball coach Paul Rizzo are among those who have invested considerable time and effort into keeping up with the facility.

Zammarelli, of North Providence-Smithfield Babe Ruth League and the Smithfield/North Providence Post 29 American Legion, recently wrote a letter to Lombardi asking about the possibility of also upgrading the baseball facility and emphasizing how important such work would be to the future of baseball in town.

Lombardi said he’ll look to work out an agreement with RAD Sports, which previously won the contract to do the football field for $3.2 million.

The Breeze previously reported that Lombardi planned to use a portion of the $4 million or so approved and leftover after the elementary school construction project on the football field and adjoining facilities, after he was advised not to let the chance to use that money gained at a lower interest rate disappear.

The mayor said he consulted with Finance Director Maria Vallee and she said the maximum she expects to be spent on the football field project is $3.25 million, leaving plenty of cushion to complete upgrades at the baseball field as well.

Lombardi said he’d already approved a new separate scoreboard to be installed at the baseball field, at a price tag of $10,000. He said he’s excited about the possibilities for the rest of the upgrades, including new products available for building infield surfaces. New lights will also be installed, and Lombardi said he expects available money to cover restroom installation as well, negating the need for people to walk up the hill to use the new football field restrooms.

Zammarelli said this week that the baseball field upgrades represent a long overdue project. Lombardi has always been in their corner, he said.

“If anyone’s able to pull it off, it’s him,” he said. “Something has to be done.”

Zammarelli said they’ve done their best with the field, but there’s only so much they can do.

Lombardi said he will meet with RAD and the local baseball experts to get specifics of the field just right to meet their needs.

Rizzo said the field has been in dire need of upgrades for a long time. He said he’s happy with the chance to be heard by Lombardi, saying the mayor is great with his hands-on approach. Lombardi is always committed to the welfare of students in town, he said, and he appreciates that.

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