Mayor Nutter, City And Community Officials Break Ground On North Philadelphia Athletic Field

The 11th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue Field is home to the Blackhawks Youth Football Team, winners of the 2010 Pop Warner Pee Wee National Championship

Philadelphia, July 30, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, City officials and community members broke ground on a $2.5 million renovation project at the athletic field located at 11th Street & Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia. The project is the result of a partnership between the City of Philadelphia, St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

“After the Blackhawks won the national championship, I promised that the City would work to build them a new field,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Almost one year ago, I was proud to officially announce that the fundraising effort was underway and the project would commence.  With today’s groundbreaking ceremony, we are demonstrating to our young people that when you work hard, good things happen.  This new field is a hard-earned reward for all that they’ve accomplished.  I look forward to watching games when the work is complete.”

The 11th & Cecil B. Moore field, built in 1970, is the home field of The Blackhawks Athletic Club.   The restoration project will replace the existing grass field with new artificial turf, which will cover the entire playing surface, including the baseball field in the Southeast corner of the lot. New field goal posts and a scoreboard will be installed, as well as new paving, fencing, and landscaping. Seravalli Inc. is the contracting company providing these renovations.

“The Eagles are proud to be part of this great restoration project.  This new athletic field will be able to host a multiple of athletic and recreational activities and we hope it serves as an inspiration for kids of all ages to live out their dreams,” said Eagles President Don Smolenski. “We would like to thank the Philadelphia Recreation Advisory Council, St. Joe’s Prep, LISC and the community for their vision and desire to provide a home for the Blackhawks Athletic Club.”

The St. Joseph’s Prep athletic teams will share the renovated field with the Blackhawks and community members. Additionally, they plan to be a neighborhood partner by providing athletic clinics and camps, as well as mentoring for local athletes and coaches.

“This is a project that we are very excited about and we are happy to see progress being made here at the site,” says Rev. George W. Bur, S.J., President of St. Joseph’s Prep. “The Prep has been a proud member of this North Philadelphia neighborhood since the 1880s and we look forward to the opportunity to share these fields with the Blackhawks and other community groups while also giving our student-athletes access to this high-quality practice site. The opportunities for collaboration and interaction are great and we look forward to them.”

Andrew Frishkoff, Director of LISC, said, “This new field affirms LISC’s commitment to help neighbors build strong communities in North Philadelphia. Over the past 25 years, we’ve invested over $50 million here and helped finance over 900 homes.  But it takes more than decent, affordable housing and safe streets to make a community healthy. Kids in every neighborhood deserve a quality environment to play, exercise and learn.”

The Blackhawks Athletic Club was established in 1968 as a Basketball program designed to keep young men off the streets and active in youth sports. The Blackhawks are celebrating 46 years of serving the youth of Philadelphia this year. There are more than 300 children registered in its football program, which encompasses 9 teams and several weight classes.  The Blackhawks Athletic Club also has several teams in its basketball, baseball and cheerleading programs.

“The Blackhawks Athletic Club is very excited about the new changes, and we appreciate the opportunity for our youth to be able to play on a state-of-the-art football field. In addition, having a growing relationship with St. Joseph’s Prep gives our kids the firsthand experience of competing at the next level of football. We want to especially thank Mayor Nutter and everyone involved for making it happen. This was well deserved and we appreciate everything, we look forward to new experiences to come,” said Don Richardson, Blackhawks Athletic Director.

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