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Jacobs, Brown announce $80,000 grant award to bolster access to soccer

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Wed, Oct 9th 2019 06:25 pm
New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, and some of the youth they're assisting.
New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, and some of the youth they're assisting.

Senator secures $80,000 in funding for new mini-pitches to enable partnerships with local soccer clubs

New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs was joined late last week by Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, North District Councilman Joseph Golombek and local community organizations and leaders in announcing he secured $80,000 in state funding to support new mini-pitches along the Scajaquada Pathway in the Black Rock-Riverside neighborhood.

Mini-pitches are ideal for urban areas where finding a safe place for youth to play soccer can be difficult. These small, customized, hard-court surfaces are suited for organized soccer programs and pick-up games.

“I am a strong believer in the importance of expanding opportunities for our children to develop beyond the school day, and healthy recreational activities are key to accomplishing that goal,” Jacobs said. “I am pleased that this funding will ensure a safe, quality soccer space where children can play together while developing sportsmanship, teamwork and life skills that will serve them well into adulthood.”

Brown stated, “As we continue to build an inclusive and equitable city of opportunity, where no one is left out and nobody is left behind, we must continue to support initiatives that enable our youth to be successful both in and out of the classroom. Athletics and other types of physical activity are vital to our community, and I thank North District Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr. and the Grant Amherst Business Association for initiating this project, as well as Sen. Chris Jacobs for securing the funding that will result in a hard surface mini-soccer pitch, fencing and nets in this Black Rock-Riverside neighborhood.”

An influx of young families in the neighborhoods surrounding where the new mini-pitches will be located have coincided with continued interest and participation in the game of soccer locally. These two factors have created a need for quality space and facilities that are easily accessible for children in the area.

"I am thankful for the work that Sen. Jacobs expended on behalf of this project,” Golombek said. “It is another great example of city and state government working together to get things done and improve the quality of life for residents in Black Rock and the North District."

Community support for the new mini-pitches has been strong, as local business and civic groups, such as the Grant Amherst Business Association, River Rock Community Coalition and the West Side Youth Development Coalition at Buffalo State, have all identified the development of them as an important piece in the ongoing revitalization of the Grant-Amherst and Black Rock-Riverside neighborhoods.

West Side International Soccer, the Buffalo Soccer Club and the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Northtowns are organizations looking forward to the completion of this project. Operating under the umbrella of the Pitch In Buffalo initiative, the groups have been seeking support for the project over the past several years.

“On behalf of the Pitch In Buffalo initiative, we are absolutely delighted to see this project move from vision to reality,” said Pitch In Buffalo’s Russell Andolina. “Black Rock is an incredibly vital and important neighborhood in Buffalo with a long history of welcoming new Americans to this country. Given soccer's role as a global game, we hope this facility can act as a unifying space that will provide residents all of ages and backgrounds an opportunity to enjoy this great game.

“Thank you to Sen. Jacobs and the many people across the city and wider soccer community who have worked so hard to see this through to completion.”

The monies secured by Jacobs will cover the cost of excavation, installation of a concrete foundation with subbase, topsoil, chain-link fencing and soccer goals.

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