PHILADELPHIA -- Today, Mayor Kenney joined the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, the Philadelphia Union Foundation, City officials and community members to celebrate the opening of the renovated athletic courts and brand-new soccer mini-pitch at Francis J. Myers Recreation Center.
The mini-pitch is a small, customized area designed for four-a-side soccer programs and pick-up games. They can be built almost anywhere, with old tennis or basketball courts, or turf or grass fields being potential sites.
A part of the City of Philadelphia’s Rebuild Initiative, an historic investment in public spaces, this first phase of the F.J. Myers Rec Center project represents a transformational partnership between the City, the Philadelphia Union Foundation and EPYSA to expand the impact of Rebuild investments. Together, the Union foundation and EPYSA contributed over one million dollars to build 15 mini-pitches and two full-size signature fields across Philadelphia, further nurturing Philadelphia’s great appreciation for soccer.
“When we first announced the Rebuild Initiative, we knew it would invigorate the Philadelphia community to join us in supporting vital public spaces,” said Mayor Kenney. “The new soccer mini-pitch and renovated athletic courts are a shining example of what shared investment accomplishes. Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer and the Philadelphia Union Foundation are exemplary organizations that responded to the call to join us in ensuring the children of Philadelphia have state of the art spaces to play and grow.”
“As we are committed to growing the game of soccer for all children in Philadelphia, it’s paramount to build new fields and safe spaces to play,” said Chris Branscome, CEO of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer. “Our vision is to provide first class facilities and opportunity. The City, Rebuild and the Philadelphia Union Foundation have been great partners in executing this vision.”
“The Philadelphia Union Foundation is committed to building safe spaces to play soccer throughout the Philadelphia region. Above all else, we will ensure proper programming and coaching at these sites starting at F.J. Myers Recreation Center,” said Paul Howard, Executive Director, Philadelphia Union Foundation. “Alongside our dedicated community partners, we will provide more young Philadelphians access to the beautiful game than ever before.”
Totaling nearly $350,000 in investment, Phase 1 of the F.J. Myers Rebuild Project includes:
· A brand new, state-of-the-art mini pitch boasting a mural by Calo Rosa entitled “Unity Chant” in partnership with Mural Arts Philadelphia
· Renovated tennis courts with new nets and fencing
· Updated, repainted and lined basketball courts with new backboards and rims
The first phase of these renovations will give community members a new place to come together, recreate and thrive.
“Today’s ribbon cutting not only celebrates the opening of the athletic courts at F.J. Myers, but also expands our shared excitement for Phase 2 of this project. We and the F.J. Myers community look forward to even more improvements coming to the rest of the site including the recreation center, sprayground, and athletic fields,” said Kira Strong, Executive Director of Rebuild. “We’re excited to fulfill the promise of Rebuild to meaningfully engage the community and invest intentionally at this incredible site.”
“We are so pleased with the incredible new amenities now available to the community here at F.J. Myers,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner. “New outdoor courts and fields are in demand in South West Philly and across the City. Partnerships like this allows our Parks & Rec system to better support local youth athletics programs and meet the growing demand for more places to play, learn, and grow right here in the City.”
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, children in attendance gathered on the mini pitch for its inaugural match.
The City of Philadelphia through Rebuild is excited to continue community engagement as phase two of the project takes shape. For more information on this and other Rebuild projects visit rebuild.phila.gov.