Mayor Michael A. Nutter and City officials hosted a Center City parade to celebrate and acknowledge the accomplishments of Philadelphia’s own Taney Dragons, 2014 Mid-Atlantic Little League champions. The Dragons made it to the U.S. Championship semi-final round of the 2014 Little League World Series, becoming the third best Little League team in the nation. The Dragons are the first team from the City of Philadelphia to make it to the Little League World Series in the history of the storied tournament.
The parade, which began at 20th & Market Streets, traveled around City Hall and continued south on Broad Street culminating in a rally and speaking program at FDR Park. The parade featured performances from the Philly POPS! in front of the Kimmel Center and the Mummers at the intersection of Broad Street and Washington Avenue. After the parade, the Taney Dragons traveled to Citizens Bank Park where Mayor Nutter and the Philadelphia Phillies hosted a pre-game tribute for the Little League team on the field.
“I am proud to honor the extraordinary achievements of the Taney Dragons Little League team. As the first team from Philadelphia to win the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, play in the Little League World Series and make it all the way to the semi-final round of the U.S. Championship, these young people have worked hard to earn this accolade,” said Mayor Nutter. “As Mayor and as a father, I know that any child can accomplish great things if she is given the opportunity and support needed to succeed, and I care deeply about ensuring that the City of Philadelphia provides those opportunities for every young person. This parade and celebration are the result of what can be achieved when young Philadelphians are supported by their community.”
The City of Philadelphia has invested significant resources, primarily through Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PP&R), to improve recreational opportunities for youth across the city. Over the next year, PP&R will completely renovate five baseball fields across the city for the spring 2015 season. These renovations represent an investment of more than $200,000 in youth baseball and will include re-doing the in-fields, seeding/leveling the outfields, new backstops, new fence lines at 1st and 3rd base, and new batting cages.
“Taney was an inspiration for the city this summer,” said Councilman Kenyatta Johnson. “With $50,000 which is coming from my office and $50,000 from Parks and Recreation, this combined investment of $100,000 should ensure that we have many more summers of watching young Philadelphians compete on the global level.”
The City has also invested more than $1 million in a $4.4 million project to build a Major League Baseball Urban Youth Baseball Academy at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center in South Philadelphia – home to the Anderson Monarchs, a team on which many of the Taney Dragons also play. Other investors in the project include Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the MLB Baseball Tomorrow Fund. Construction at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center site is expected to begin this fall.
In addition to supporting youth baseball and softball, the City of Philadelphia is also supporting projects for other types of athletics and extracurricular activities. On July 30, 2014, Mayor Nutter broke ground for a $2.5 million renovation to the field at 11th & Cecil B. Moore Avenue which will serve the North Philadelphia Blackhawks Athletic Program, teams from Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School, and community teams. The project is the result of a partnership between the City, City Council President Darrell Clarke, the Philadelphia Eagles, Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School, and LISC. Football and baseball fields in Hunting Park in North Philadelphia were also recently renovated with the help of the Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia Phillies, respectively, and community partners.
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation administers city-wide leagues that serve seven different age groups (up to age 17) with 51 teams and more than 800 participants. These youth baseball and tee ball programs are played on the City’s 261 athletic fields. In addition to the City leagues, more than 85 other local leagues – including the Phillies RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner cities) League which serves more than 8,000 youth – reach approximately 16,000 young people in the Greater Philadelphia region. Most of these games are played on City-owned fields and facilities.