The Buffalo Sabres Foundation joined representatives from Saving Grace Ministries to officially break ground Wednesday on the construction of a ball hockey rink and youth football field that will be part of a new, one-of-a-kind sport complex at Perkins Park in Buffalo.
"We are very excited to be breaking ground on the new ball hockey rink and youth football field that will reside in Perkins Park," said Rich Jureller, president of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation. "This project will improve access to a variety of sports for children in the City of Buffalo who will soon have the opportunity to learn and play in Perkins Park for years to come."
The complex, managed by Resource Council of WNY, will provide the children of Buffalo a safe environment to learn and play. Upon its completion this summer, the complex will feature programs for hockey, lacrosse, soccer, volleyball, tennis, field hockey, football and flag football.
"Since 2011, my administration has invested over $320,000 on improvements at Perkins Park. We also contributed $1.5 million in HOME funds for conversion of the former Humboldt Y, located next door, into a not-for-profit operation which offers athletics, fun and mentoring to neighborhood children, plus affordable housing on the second and third floors," Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said. "The addition of the street hockey rink and youth football field to what's been completed at 347 E. Ferry is a winning combination for this neighborhood, and Buffalo's East Side."
The ball hockey rink will be a three-quarter-size outdoor rink that provides multisurface use for floor hockey, roller-skating, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse. The football field will be a 50-yard grass field designed for flag football and first-year tackle football players. Local teams will be able to utilize the play surfaces for practices and scrimmages. Queen City Football, a local organization that includes 30 football teams and 1,000 cheerleading participants, already has plans to utilize the field for practices and mini-games.
"Saving Grace Ministries is a proud supporting partner of the Perkins Parks Sports Complex expansion project," said Rev. Terry King, CEO of Saving Grace Ministries. "The project affords kids and our community opportunity for ball hockey and provides for a youth football field designed for flag football and local team practices. Having been involved since the inception of the 347 E. Ferry recreational center, we are excited that, along with the project partners, the Sabres Foundation, the Buffalo Bills, LISC, Oishei Foundation and other partners, we can invest in our neighborhood parks that will benefit our children for years to come. Sincere thanks to the City of Buffalo Hon. Mayor Brown, and the City of Buffalo Parks and Recreation Department."
The Resource Council of WNY currently operates the community center adjacent to Perkins Park, which features classrooms, a computer lab, a kitchen, an indoor gymnasium, a fitness room and a swimming pool.
The Perkins Park project was funded in part through the Buffalo Sabres Foundation, NHL/NHLPA Industry Growth Fund, NFL/LISC Grassroots Program and Buffalo Bills, and the John R. Oishei Foundation. Corporate sponsors include Heine Legal Publishing, Hodgson Russ and Phillips Lytle, along with project development partners Saving Grace Ministries and True Bethel Development.
The Buffalo Sabres Foundation mission statement is "To identify and support local organizations which share our core objectives: serving children and military personnel, caring for the sick, assisting physically and mentally challenged athletes, and supporting youth hockey initiatives. By utilizing financial resources and community influence, the Buffalo Sabres Foundation assists these organizations and their beneficiaries in realizing their highest potential and succeeding in their endeavors."