By Dan Koob

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A massive project is underway to give kids in North Philadelphia a place to play and grow, and all they need is a basketball and an open mind.

It may not look like much now, but to Kenny Holdsman, he sees “potential.”

But that will all change soon, thanks to the forward-thinking of Holdsman, the CEO of Philadelphia Youth Basketball. Holdsman is spearheading a $25 million renovation of the old KGM Gaming building in North Philly and plans to turn it into a basketball mecca for kids.

It will feature seven courts, five classrooms, a civic dialogue area, a full cafeteria, and more.

“We have put everything under one roof that we think kids need to thrive,” Holdsman said. “Financial literacy, health and wellness, strength and conditioning.”

This space, all 100,000-square feet, will see 5,000 kids per year come through its doors to not only learn about basketball but about life.

“There are a lot of kids, especially low-income kids of color, who really need a shot,” Holdsman said. “And there are disparities in opportunities greater than ever before.”

A $5 million donation from Alan Horwitz helped pave the way. You may remember him by his other name, the Sixers’ “Sixth Man.”

“I just got so enthused about being involved with him and wanted to give back to the community,” Horwitz said.

Most importantly, accessibility is key.

“We have two bus stops out front,” Holdsman said. “A regional rail eight blocks away, two subway stops 10 blocks away and Route 1, Roosevelt Boulevard is 400 yards up Wissahickon Avenue.”

The project is slated to break ground in December of this year and be up and running by December 2022.


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