The grass football field in Atlanta's Ben Hill Park will be replaced with synthetic turf thanks in part to a $200,000 grant from the Atlanta Falcons through the National Football League Grassroots Program, it was announced today.
The grant, awarded by the Falcons, the NFL Youth Football Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is part of $2.5 million in field refurbishment awards allocated this year.
Park Pride, an independent nonprofit which advocates for Atlanta parks and green space, will renovate the field, in partnership with the City of Atlanta. The new synthetic playing field will increase field usage and allow Ben Hill Recreation Center to expand its youth football program.
The NFL Grassroots Program, a partnership between the NFL Youth Football Fund and LISC, the nation's leading community development support corporation, has resulted in the construction or renovation of 256 football fields nationwide in the past 14 years. During that time, the NFL Youth Football Fund has granted more than $32.5 million to revitalize playing fields in underserved neighborhoods. Fields are newly built or significantly renovated, with improvements such as irrigation systems, lights, bleachers, scoreboards, goal posts and turf. Grassroots grants are issued once established funding thresholds are reached for each project.
"We're proud of the work of the NFL Grassroots Program and happy to support the City of Atlanta and Park Pride through this grant," Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur Blank said. "As a result of this grant, children and families in communities surrounding Ben Hill Park will enjoy the benefit of this enhancement for years to come."
LISC identifies local nonprofit, neighborhood-based agencies committed to building or refurbishing football fields in schools and parks in underserved neighborhoods. Through the program, the local agencies are provided with the necessary financing and technical assistance to improve the quality and safety of fields in their neighborhoods. The local agencies oversee the construction, maintenance and programming of the fields.
"Park Pride is excited about the opportunity to again work with the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons and the City of Atlanta to improve Ben Hill Park through field refurbishments," said Margaret Connelly, executive director of Park Pride. "Not only will this partnership result in an improved amenity for the Ben Hill community, it will ultimately result in more young people having the opportunity to be physically active and participate in sports programs."
"Building sustainable communities – good places to live, work, do business and raise families – is a priority for LISC," said Michael Rubinger, LISC's president and CEO. "Developing recreational facilities is a key part of that, and the NFL and the NFL Players Association have been committed partners in making it happen."