Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver joined the community for a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, August 25 at Mallison Park, just west of downtown, to celebrate the renovation of the park's community football field. A $100,000 grant for the field renovation project was received by the Police Athletic League(PAL) of Jacksonville in partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Jacksonville from the NFL Youth Football Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
Since 2001, the Jaguars have sponsored community grant applications totaling $625,000 for seven community football field renovation projects from the NFL Youth Football Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver joined Lieutenant Rob Schoonover, Executive Director, PAL; Joni Foster, Executive Director, LISC-Jacksonville; Mr. Bob Baughman, Public Works Superintendant for the City of Jacksonville; Bernard L. Thomas, Chairman of the Sheriff Advisory Council (SHADCO)-Sector M, police officers, community leaders and residents, volunteer coaches and youth in the PAL football and cheerleading programs to mark the occasion. Mrs. Weaver congratulated the PAL, LISC and City of Jacksonville on the wonderful partnership that made the new field possible, saying, "it's about the children, they are our future."
The renovations were made possible through a $100,000 grant awarded by the NFL Youth Football Fund and LISC in June, 2008. The funds were administered by LISC Jacksonville and used to install a new irrigation system, replace existing sod, grade the field, and add new lighting at Mallison Park, which is on the border of North Riverside and Lackawanna, north of Interstate 10. This is the seventh NFL Grassroots field grant awarded to Jacksonville non profits and administered by LISC Jacksonville, and the second awarded to the Police Athletic League of Jacksonville.
PAL offers year-round and seasonal sports programs, after-school activities, tutoring, and summer camp at Mallison Park. Since 2005, the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation has donated $100,000 to the Jacksonville Police Athletic League to fund afterschool education programs at the Mallison Park Community Center. This PAL location serves as a model of successful public/private partnerships formed for the purpose of providing early intervention to area youth, while reducing crime in a neighborhood.
The NFL Youth Football Fund/LISC grants received in Jacksonville since 2001 include:
• Jacksonville Police Athletic League (Malison Park) $100,000
• Bishop John Snyder School (Football practice/community Field) $25,000
• The Greater Lakeshore Athletic Association/Housing Partnership of Northeast Florida (Criswell Park Football Field) $100,000
• The Sweetwater Athletic Association/SOS Academy (Mary Lena Gibbs Park) $100,000
• Police Athletic League of Jacksonville (McCormick Road Complex) $100,000
• Pine Forest Athletic Association/ Housing Partnership of Northeast Florida (Pine Forrest Athletic Field) $100,000.
• Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida (Woodland Acres Club Football Field) $75,000