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Bills help open new community turf field in South Buffalo

Posted Aug 27, 2013

The Buffalo Bills today helped open a new state-of-the-art community turf field in South Buffalo to further spread the PLAY 60 message.

Today, the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Legacy Project and Mayor Byron Brown came together to honor and officially open the completed, five-year turf field project at Mulroy Park.

Located just seven miles from Ralph Wilson Stadium, the new 1.2 million dollar “Pierce Field” is a state-of-the-art synthetic turf athletic field- fully equipped for all sports to help kids PLAY 60 in South Buffalo.

“This is another great day of progress in the city of Buffalo,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “This is a super public-private partnership,” Brown said, noting that the city provided $400,000 in capital funds for the infrastructure.  “I want to thank all of the funders and everyone who has been involved in this project that really reached out and touched so many young people who play sports in this community. Football, soccer, lacrosse- the field is all marked for all those sports, and young people will have a great and safe time here at this field.”

The field was made possible by a $200,000 grant from the Buffalo Bills through the NFL Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) as part of the National Football League Grassroots Program, which provides non-profit, neighborhood-based organizations, middle schools and high schools with financing and technical assistance to improve the quality, safety and accessibility of local football fields.

“This is so much in line with what we’re about which is our PLAY 60 misson- getting kids and families to play at least 60 minutes per day.,” said Mary Owen, Bills Executive Vice President of Strategic Planning. “This is our eighth field (in the WNY community), and we’re going to be opening our ninth field in Niagara Falls this fall. We’re at about a million dollar investment in this community, through the NFL’s Grassroots Program.”

Another party having a large hand in in the project was Ray McCabe, President of the Buffalo Legacy Project, who has been largely involved in planning and execution for the turf field.

“What makes this field unique is that it’s a state-of-the-art synthetic field located in South Buffalo,” noted McCabe. “If you took Buffalo and divided it into four quadrants, you’d find astro-turf fields in the North, East and the West. This is the first field in the South part of Buffalo. It’s a tremendous field for such an athletically-inclined neighborhood.”

Buffalo Bills Alumni members including Booker Edgerson, Clarley Ferguson and Ed Rutkowski we’re also in attendance for the grand opening. Rutkowski was highly impressed by the beauty of the new field, and the opportunities it will provide for today’s Buffalo youth.

“It’s a beautiful field- a lot better than the one we played on at War Memorial Stadium,” Rutkowski told buffalobills.com with a laugh.  “It’s nice to be able to know that young boys and girls are going to be able to play team sports here. When you’re playing a team sport, you realize that you have to work together to achieve a certain goal. The things that young people learn on the fields of athletics such as discipline, self-sacrifice, and character development, you can translate into being a good citizen, and take those same qualities and work as a community to better your city, county and country.”

LISC representatives were also on-hand to celebrate Pierce Field’s completion.

“The enhancement of the Mulroy Park football field is an important project for this community. No neighborhood is complete without recreational facilities where children can compete and families can congregate,” said Michael Clarke, Buffalo LISC’s program director. “We’re happy to be partner with the Bills, the City of Buffalo, the Buffalo Legacy Project and all the local organizations that are supporting this project.”

While the project looks completed, there is a phase two plan in the works including a bleacher section, scoreboard, a building to store the equipment, restroom and lighting. For now, community kids can run around and enjoy the new state-of-the-art field.

“We hope to see everyone embrace healthy lifestyles that include regular exercise,” said McCabe. “We believe that Pierce Field will become a centerpiece for youth and family athletics for the entire community.”

For a complete history of the Buffalo Bills – NFL Foundation Grant, please see below:

 

Buffalo Bills - NFL Foundation Grant Recipient History:

Year

Program

Location

Grant Amount

2010

Buffalo Legacy Project - Mulroy Park

Buffalo, NY

$200,000

2008

Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (Riverside Youth Football Field)

Buffalo, NY

$50,000

2007

Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion

Buffalo, NY

$200,000

2006

Detroit NFL Youth Education Town/Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Athletic Field

Detroit, MI

$100,000

2005

Robert E. Rich Sr. All High Stadium

Buffalo, NY

$200,000

2005

Buffalo Bills Youth Football Stadium

Orchard Park, NY

$100,000

2003

Veterans Stadium Restoration Project

Lackawanna, NY

$50,000

2000

Broadway Fillmore Neighborhood Housing Services - Emerson Park Football Field

Buffalo, NY

$100,000

1998

Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (Riverside Youth Football Field)

Buffalo, NY

$80,000

TOTAL

$1,080,000