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A Place to Play

The NFL and the Bucs commit $100,000 to rebuild the youth football fields in Tampa’s Skyway Park, advancing the league's nationwide Grassroots program


Among the youth events held at Skyway Park each year is the Mike Alstott Football Camp

The NFL and the Bucs commit $100,000 to rebuild the youth football fields in Tampa's Skyway Park, advancing the league's nationwide Grassroots program

Two youth football fields will be re-constructed at Skyway Park in the Town 'N Country neighborhood of Northwest Tampa, thanks to a new $100,000 grant from the National Football League's Grassroots program. The grant, announced today by the NFL and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is included in $1.6 million in new awards that the initiative is making to community groups for field rehabilitation in 17 cities.

The NFL Grassroots program is part of the NFL Youth Football Fund, a $150 million fund established by the NFL and the NFL Players Association to support youth football initiatives. Since 1998, the program has provided $8 million in grants and helped community organizations rebuild 88 football fields in more than 40 urban neighborhoods.

The Tampa Bay Youth Football League will administer the $100,000 grant. Renovations will include the installation of new sod, the repair of existing bleachers, and the construction of a locker room and storage facility, which will improve playing conditions at Skyway Park's two football fields, which are joined by one common concession area. Among the youth football events held at the park each year is the Mike Alstott Youth Football Camp.

The improvements will benefit more than 2,600 youth who currently use the fields for football and cheerleading programs organized by the Tampa Bay Youth Football League. The renovated fields will also host a range of other activities, including youth football clinics run by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, NFL Europe spring training camps, and special community events.

"The Skyway Park is a tangible sign of our Youth Football Fund in action," said NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. "The Youth Football Fund supports all aspects of youth football from participation, to coaching and to improving of playing fields."

The program is a joint venture among the NFL, NFLPA and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the country's leading community development support organization. The NFL, NFLPA and LISC identify local non-profit, neighborhood-based agencies in each city, which are provided with financing and technical assistance to improve the quality and safety of football fields in their local schools, parks and neighborhoods. The local groups then oversee the construction, maintenance, and programming of the fields.

"Community-based development has gone far beyond housing to include health care, education, safe streets programs, economic development initiatives and thanks to the NFL, the creation of quality football fields in many of our nation's most disadvantaged neighborhoods," said Michael Rubinger, LISC's president and CEO.

Other communities receiving NFL awards during this funding round are: Atlanta, Baltimore, the Bronx (NY), Charlotte, Chelsea (MA), Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Munhall (PA), Newark, New Orleans, Oakland, San Diego, St. Louis and St. Paul (MN). Football fields will be built or significantly renovated with such improvements as the installation of new irrigation systems, lights, bleachers, scoreboards and goal posts.

"The NFL and NFL Players Association are proud to assist communities where young people aspire to play football," said Gene Upshaw, Executive Director of NFLPA. "This program allows us to make an immediate impact in neighborhoods where assistance is most needed."

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