This is the eighth grant Jacksonville has received for a new or refurbished community field from the NFL Grassroots Program of the NFL Youth Football Fund. The program is a partnership of the NFL owners, the NFL Players Association and LISC (Local Initiatives Service Corporation). The field will be operated by the Police Athletic League of Jacksonville and maintained by the City of Jacksonville.
Onhand for the ribbon cutting were Jaguars owners Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver, Jaguars players Jason Hill and Jarett Dillard, members of The ROAR of the Jaguars Cheerleaders, Sheriff John Rutherford, LISC President/CEO Michael Rubinger, City Councilman Dr. Johnny A. Gaffney, PAL Director Lt. Derrick Mitchell, Florida State Representative Mia Jones, Pastor Torin Daley from First Baptist of Oakland Church and other local dignitaries.
LISC Jacksonville, through LISC's NFL Youth Football Fund program and in conjunction with the Jacksonville Jaguars, helped secure $65,000 in funding to begin the project. The City of Jacksonville contributed $190,000 from its Jacksonville Journey Funding for Capital Projects. Council Member Gaffney's Office contributed an additional $40,000. The Lucy Gooding Charitable Trust and Operation New Hope also contributed financially to the project.
The refurbishment effort included laser grading of the surface, a new irrigation system and sod, bringing the area up to ADA compliances standards, new bleachers, goal posts and fencings. Two new basketball courts and a sidewalk area are also being added.
This is the eighth football field that LISC Jacksonville has secured funding for refurbishment and the third PAL field. The eight fields represent a total investment of LISC/NFL funds of nearly $700,000. Wayne Weaver noted, "LISC is a major partner with the NFL and being part of the 'NFL family' here in Jacksonville has allowed the Jaguars organization to access these grants."