Built in the early 1930s, Hinchliffe Stadium is a 10,000 seat “City” Stadium which is best known for hosting the Negro Baseball League. Before African Americans were allowed to play for Major League Baseball, teams such as the New York Black Yankees endured social adversity to overcome the color barrier in hopes to one day be treated as an equal on and off the field.
Today’s event was a call to action for the community. The walls, littered with 15 years of graffiti, came back to life. Paterson Residents were no longer going to stand idle and watch their predominant structure fall apart. Shajrin Islam, a 17-year-old from John F. Kennedy High School, volunteered to help as a member of the National Honor Society. Although not a fan of baseball, Islam took part in rolling on the paint in an effort to help with this massive clean-up. "I think if everyone comes together we can make it come alive again," she said.
Valspar donated over 900 gallons of primer/paint and Ricciadi Brothers Paint Store supplied the paint sundries and equipment necessary to roll it out. One full coat of primer and finish paint coated the entire interior of the stadium. With the large number of painting volunteers, headed up by Alpine Painting’s 15 professional crew leaders, each coat was able to be applied in just over an hour.
Brian LoPinto, the head of the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium, said $1.2 million has been donated by the city of Paterson and the New Jersey Historic Trust to stabilize the structure. The next step is to raise $24 million to renovate the stadium so it can be used by students and community members alike.
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., a lifelong Paterson native, pushed for landmark status for Hinchliffe and the nearby Paterson Great Falls, and has introduced legislation to incorporate the stadium into the footprint of the park, which would make it eligible for more funding and secure it thrives for years to come.