The city is investing in a warn-out and shuttered athletic filed in South Buffalo. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and other lawmakers announced $400,000 in city funds Thursday to help create a state-of-the-art field off Tifft Street and South Park.
Mayor Brown stood in front of Mulroy Park, an empty field of grass and a worn out basketball court, to announce city funding will help pave the way for a $2.5 million public/private project.
"The park is dormant. No activity. Nothing happening," said Mayor Brown. "But we certainly want South Buffalo residents and residents of the city of Buffalo that is going to change dramatically."
It will be the first of its kind field in the city. It will provide area youth a chance to play on a high-quality field, in a safe environment.
Phase one of the project will cost about $1.2 million. It will include the installation of new synthetic Astroturf.
Funding is also being provided by a $200,000 grant from the Buffalo Bills, the NFL Youth Football Fund, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation to the Buffalo legacy project.
State Assemblyman Michael Kearns of South Buffalo appeared with the Mayor. The two leaders, once opponents in the 2009 mayoral race and often at odds during Kearns's time as a Common Council member, thanked one another for the securing the funding and working together to create the new athletic field.
"This Astroturf field is state-of-the-art," said Kearns.
South district Council member Christopher Scanlon, who replaced Kearns when he was elected to the Assembly, also praised the city funding.
"South Buffalo has a wonderful athletic tradition, and I hope these fields with help the other young athletes of the area develop and continue that tradition for many years to come," said Scanlon.
Funding was included in the current city budget and the Buffalo Common Council approved the project funding and contractor Northeast Diversification Tuesday.
Phase two of the project will include recreational facilities and bathrooms.
The city says weather permitting, phase one of construction could begin next month. Full completion of the new field is expected in the spring of 2014.
The field will be used for football, soccer and lacrosse.
The Buffalo Legacy Project board has also led to additional funding commitments from the John R. Oishei Foundation, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation and the First Niagara Bank Foundation.
The NFL program funded five other football field projects in the city previously. It grants for fields at Riverside Park, Emerson Playground, Lackawanna Veterans Stadium, and after the NFL agreed to start finding permanent playing surfaces it also funded work at All High Stadium, Johnnie B. Wiley stadium and now Mulroy Park.