On Tuesday, February 1, 2005, Council Member Mia Jones, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the Jacksonville Jaguars celebrated the completion of improvements to the Barco Field made possible through a $100,000 matching grant given by the National Football League's Grassroots Program.
'Community revitalization is measured by more than construction cranes and concrete,' said City Councilwoman Mia Jones. 'It is measured by the pride people feel about their community. We applaud the NFL, the Jaguars and the LISC for supporting the restoration of this field. They are critical to the well-being of our neighborhoods.'
The Mary Lena Gibbs Park at SOS Academy Field, in the Hyde Park/Sweetwater neighborhood, is typical of facilities that have benefited from this program. Prior to the 2003 grant, the park had no formally defined playing field, but with matching funds from City Council District 10, the field will now be ready for football competition for youngsters throughout the neighborhood. The field will also include a new concession stand and scoreboard.
The Grassroots Program, a partnership between LISC and the NFL, is funded by the NFL Youth Football Fund, a $150 million program established by the NFL and the NFL Players Association to support youth football.