WHAT: Tampa's Parks & Recreation is officially breaking ground on newly renovated youth football fields in the Port Tampa neighborhood. CANDO Sports and the City of Tampa have been granted $100,000 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers through the National Football League Foundation Grassroots Program to install natural turf fields at Southwest Port Tampa Park.
WHO: Mayor Jane Castor; Sherisha Hills, Director of Parks & Recreation; Mary Campenello, CANDO Sports; Tampa Bay Buccaneers Representative
DATE: Wednesday, June 7, 2023
TIME: 10:30 AM
LOCATION: Southwest Port Tampa Fields, 7506 S Morton St.
NFL/LISC Grassroots Program and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Grant $100,000 To Install a Natural Turf Field at Southwest Port Tampa Park
Children’s Athletic Network and Dance Opportunities (CANDO) and the City of Tampa have been granted $100,000 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers through the National Football League Foundation Grassroots Program to install a natural turf field at Southwest Port Tampa Park.
The grant from the Buccaneers, the NFL Foundation, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is part of $3 million in field refurbishment awards allocated this year.
The NFL Foundation Grassroots Program – a partnership between the NFL Foundation and LISC, the nation’s leading community development support organization – has supported the construction or renovation of 436 football fields nationwide since 1998. During that time, the NFL Foundation has granted nearly $61.8 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.
“At the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we believe everyone deserves a level playing field,” said Tampa Bay Buccaneers Owner/President Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation/President Glazer Vision Foundation. Darcie Glazer Kassewitz. “We are excited to help provide the Port Tampa area with a field of its own that members of the community can be proud of, with hope that it helps inspire children to reach their potential on the athletic field and in life.”
"We are very excited to partner together with CANDO, Inc. and the NFL to kickstart this new project at the Southwest Port Tampa Fields," said Tampa Parks & Recreation Director, Sherisha Hills. "Once the site is converted to both a multi-purpose high-school football field and smaller youth field, nearby community users will soon have a home field of their own that can also seasonally be shared with other sports as well as utilized for events, clinics, camps, and even game-rentals. We are so grateful for all of the new opportunities this partnership will afford."
“We are deeply appreciative of the opportunity to partner with the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation and the NFL,” added Executive Director of CANDO, Inc., Mary Campanello. “This new multi-purpose field will also allow us to continue our mission to provide affordable and quality sports opportunities for every youth to excel."
LISC identifies local, nonprofit, community-based agencies that have an interest in building or refurbishing football fields in schools and neighborhood parks. Through the program, local agencies are provided with the necessary financing and technical assistance to improve the quality and safety of fields in their communities. The agencies oversee the construction, maintenance and programming of the fields.
“Outdoor recreation, and the health benefits that come with it, is in high demand throughout the country,” said Beverly Smith, LISC’s vice president of Sports & Recreation. “This Tampa field – like all of those that the Grassroots Program has established over the years – will provide opportunities for young people to compete in a safe, structured environment.”
About the City of Tampa Parks & Recreation:
Tampa Parks & Recreation is an NRPA Gold Medal recipient and CAPRA-accredited agency with a mission to provide and preserve quality parks and recreation opportunities for all. With almost 400,000 residents, Tampa is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation that strives to protect the natural environment while creatively using resources to meet the growing needs of our community. Operating in a highly urbanized environment, we are dedicated to offering safe community green spaces that are conveniently accessible to all residents. With continued support from trusted partners and local community participation, we look forward to continuing to offer new, fun, and educational recreation and environmental stewardship opportunities throughout our community.
About CANDO Sports:
Established in 1993, Children's Athletic Network & Dance Opportunities Inc., better known as CANDO Sports, is a local non-profit organization created to provide affordable athletics and expanding opportunities for youth to excel. CANDO Sports partners with the Tampa Parks & Recreation Department to enhance and expand the current sports programs and activities for youth athletes across the state through developmentally appropriate competition.
About the NFL Foundation
The National Football League Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation and its members, the 32 NFL clubs, support the health, safety and wellness of athletes, youth football, and the communities that support our game. For more information on the NFL Foundation, visit: www.NFLFoundation.org
LISC is one of the country’s largest community development organizations, helping forge vibrant, resilient communities across America. We work with residents and partners to close systemic gaps in health, wealth and opportunity and advance racial equity so that people and places can thrive. Since our founding in 1979, LISC has invested $26.7 billion to create more than 463,000 affordable homes and apartments, develop 78.5 million square feet of retail, community and educational space and help tens of thousands of people find employment and improve their finances. For more, visit www.lisc.org.