Boston: Completion of athletic field improvements at Madison Park-O’Bryant Educational Complex celebrated

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The Boston Parks and Recreation Department joined stakeholders from Boston's youth sports and nonprofit communities on Friday, October 15, to celebrate the ribbon cutting of new football, track, baseball, and softball fields shared by Madison Park Technical Vocational High School and the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science.

A partnership forged by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department's Design and Construction Unit, and an effort led by the City of Boston, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the New England Patriots Foundation and the National Football League (NFL) Foundation, the project will benefit youth and school football programs that use the Madison Park Technical Vocational High School football field in Roxbury for practices and games. These fields are supported by a comprehensive $1.75 million renovation project that began in August of 2020 and was completed in September.

"Thanks to this partnership, our young athletes will have state-of-the-art fields to play and compete on," said Mayor Janey. "I want to thank the NFL and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation for teaming up with the Parks Department to present the community with a facility that we can all be proud of."

The overall project included replacement of the running track and synthetic turf football fields at the upper level, replacement of synthetic turf baseball and softball fields at the lower level, a taller backstop at the baseball field to mitigate foul balls traveling across Cabot Street, new and repaired fencing at the perimeter and around the track, and a new electronic scoreboard.

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The rebuilding of the football field at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School was funded by the City of Boston's Capital Improvements Program and a $250,000 grant from the NFL Foundation's Grassroots Program. The program is a partnership between the Patriots, the National Football League (NFL) Foundation and a national non-profit, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which provides neighborhood-based organizations with financial and technical assistance to improve local football fields. The grant was awarded to the non-profit Fund for Parks and Recreation in Boston to benefit area high schools, sports programs, and residents from the neighboring communities. This funding bolstered additional private funding dedicated to City school and community projects that benefit properties under the jurisdiction of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department.

"We are excited to team with our great partners at LISC to help turn the idea of a new athletic field at Madison Park-O'Bryant into a reality," said Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett, the team's Executive Director of Community Affairs. "This new state-of-the-art facility will benefit thousands of student-athletes in the city of Boston for years to come."

"I am thrilled to see that the field is already benefiting students, community athletics programs, and residents," said Karen Kelleher, Executive Director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Boston. "We saw resurfacing this field as a great opportunity to invest in a quality public space to support recreation and community health. LISC is honored to be a partner in this, knowing it is a community resource that so many will be proud of and excited to use for years to come."

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An additional $60,000 was provided by nonprofit housing developer Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), for a new backstop at the baseball field, assisted by Hailey Toney Partnership, LLC, Construction Services Consultation Company of New England.

Sports programs that will benefit from the improvements to the football field, track, and lower baseball and softball fields include Madison Park High, the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, South End Pop Warner, Roxbury Community College, neighborhood track groups, South End Baseball, South End Soccer, Roxbury Rookie League, and the Red Sox Foundation RBI (Reviving Baseball and Softball in Inner Cities).

"Athletics and outdoor activities are so important for our students' social-emotional development, particularly as they return to their school communities and reconnect with their peers," said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. "This new athletic field provides expanded athletic opportunities for BPS students and is a beautiful recreational space that neighborhood children and local youth organizations can utilize as well. We are so appreciative of the support and advocacy of our community and philanthropic partners for making this athletic facility a reality."

"The new fields are a great upgrade and have aided in a refreshed feeling to outdoor sports. They've created a better atmosphere around the Madison Park-O'Bryant complex and the fresh turf brings excitement to this fall soccer season," said Dany Viellard, senior captain for the O'Bryant girls soccer team. "After a year of remote and hybrid learning, there is no greater feeling than to be back interacting and communicating in person with our teachers and peers. We are all happy to be off Zoom!"

To stay up to date with news, events, and improvements in Boston's parks, sign up for the Parks Department email list at bit.ly/Get-Parks-Emails and follow our social channels @bostonparksdept on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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