Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. announces that the City of Hammond has formed partnerships with the School City of Hammond, Hammond Academy of Science & Technology, and Bishop Noll Institute that will enable these institutions to utilize the brand new soccer, baseball, softball and tennis facilities at Dowling Park as well as the south baseball fields at Riverside Park for many of their upcoming home games in the spring season. "We are grateful to Mayor McDermott and his team for providing this opportunity to the student-athletes attending high schools in Hammond," said Paul Mullaney, president of Bishop Noll Institute. "interscholastic athletics and other extra-curricular are important to the total development of the whole student, and the opportunity to compete on such top-level playing surfaces can only enhance our students' high school experience and contribute to their growth."
With the construction of the Dowling Park Sport Complex and the partnership with Purdue University Northwest, there will still be many times these facilities are vacant. "We built these first class athletic fields with Hammond kids in mind as well. When Purdue University Northwest isn't using them, there is no reason for them to sit unoccupied," stated Mayor McDermott.
The south baseball field at Riverside Park will also be utilized under this new partnership for high school baseball games as well. "We want the children of Hammond to experience playing on this natural-grass, college level facility as well," stated McDermott. Previously, these grounds were operated by the Indiana Chiefs Baseball Program, who maintained the field but not allow other users to play on the field. "There is no reason to keep Hammond baseball players off of one of the nicest fields in Northwest Indiana. After all, it is a park facility and should be available for the use of the general public," stated Mayor McDermott.
"Hammond Academy's coaches and student athletes are ecstatic about the possibility of our teams being able to play at such excellent sports facilities," stated Sean Egan. "We think it's a great idea to use this Hammond facility to showcase Hammond athletics. We feel honored that the city is including us in the conversation pertaining to the present and future use of Dowling Park."
Under this agreement, the School City, HAST and BNI would all schedule a certain number of games at these facilities. As long as Purdue University Northwest's teams are not using the facilities, the City of Hammond is free to rent these fields to whomever they choose. "I am pleased that students in the School City of Hammond will be afforded this opportunity, provided by the City of Hammond," stated Dr. Walter Watkins, Superintendent, School City of Hammond. "This partnership will expose our students to a larger athletic experience and confirm that Hammond supports its youth in their endeavors."