Philadelphia, December 1, 2014 – The City of Philadelphia, St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), the Philadelphia Eagles and community members participated in a dedication ceremony for the renovated Columbia Field at 11th street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, originally constructed in 1970.
“I am extremely proud of these athletes for being engaged in team sports, staying out of trouble and having fun because that is what being a kid is about,” said Mayor Nutter. “When we support and invest in our young people there is no limit to what they can achieve. Sports build character, discipline, problem solving and the ability to cooperate with others, as well as keeping your body healthy and active. By providing our children with a clean, safe and beautiful place to practice and play, we are encouraging them to be successful.”
In 2010, the Blackhawks youth football team won the National Pop Warner Pee Wee Championship. After the Blackhawks’ victory, Mayor Nutter promised the team he would work to get them a new field.
The new field will be utilized by the Blackhawks Athletic Club, St. Joe’s Prep and community members. St. Joe’s Prep plans to become a neighborhood partner by providing athletic camps and mentoring for local athletes and coaches.
Derrick Williams, Blackhawks Head Football Coach in 2010, said “It was a long time coming, the Mayor made a promise in 2010, and now in 2014 we have a new field, in conjunction with St. Josephs Prep, that benefits both programs and the North Philadelphia community. We poured our hearts into the kids and got something good for them out of it.”
The $2.5 million renovations included new goal posts and a scoreboard, fresh paving and landscaping and replacing the grass field with artificial turf. The baseball field was also restored and a lacrosse field was built. Seravalli Inc. was the general contractor on the renovations project.
Partners that provided funding for this project are the following:
· The Mayor’s Office – $1.8 million;
· St. Joe’s Prep – $400,000;
· Philadelphia Water Department – $265,000;
· Philadelphia Eagles/LISC – $200,000;
· City Council President Darrell Clarke – $100,000; and
· Philadelphia Parks and Recreation – $100,000.
“Families in every neighborhood deserve safe, high-quality places to play, which is why LISC has partnered with the NFL to build or renovate 290 fields in underserved neighborhoods across the country,” said Philadelphia LISC Executive Director Andrew Frishkoff. “This new ball field in North Philadelphia will strengthen the health and well-being of families here for years to come. It represents LISC’s most recent investment in this neighborhood; we have now invested more than $50 million here during the past 25 years and we expect to continue our support for the next 25 years.”