By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Pop Warner Pee Wee champion Blackhawks dedicated their new football field in North Philadelphia Monday afternoon. The milestone means someone kept a long held promise.
Don Richardson was all smiles on Monday.
“I’m so excited for the kids,” said Richardson, the athletic director for the Blackhawks Youth Athletic League. “It’s just a happy day.”
The team lobbied for years for a new home field at 11th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue — and when the Blackhawks won the Pop Warner Championship in 2010, Mayor Michael Nutter promised they’d get one.
“The mayor made us a promise and he stayed to it,” he said. “What more can we say?”
Once called the “Dust Bowl,” by mid-season, the field would become filled with rocks and dirt. But today it’s green and lush, with Blackhawks gold and black paint, a new scoreboard, paving, locker rooms and a whole lot of pride.
“Oh, it’s amazing,” said Karen, whose son Nasir Nixon plays running back for the team. “There are so many enhancements. I love it. The better to win!”
“It was horrible, but now we have this, it is beautiful,” says Darlene, another Blackhawk mom. “It took a lot of work to get this done, but it’s worth it. We are going to be out here in droves to support our children.”
The Blackhawks will share the $2.5 million field with St. Joe’s Prep, which put up $400,000 for the field. The city provided $1.8 million in funding, with the remaining amounts coming from the Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Eagles and LISC, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and Council President Darrell Clarke.
“Now that we have our own field it’s great advantage for us,” said Olamide Zaccheus, a senior at St. Joe’s who plays on the football team. “We took a picture when we first came here as a whole team. It’s just a great feeling.”
But for Richardson the new field means they’ll be working hard to win that championship once again.
“It’s going to be hard to get rid of us,” said Richardson, “We’re going to play our hearts out on this.”
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