A gift from the foundation of former Buffalo Bills’ owner Ralph Wilson is helping move a Rochester youth sports facility forward.
The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, continues to award grants to area youth sports organizations and activities years after his passing, and one of the latest projects involves a youth training facility adjacent to the soccer stadium on Oak Street in Rochester.
Mayor Lovely Warren says the effort includes renovating a 25,000 square foot building at that location into a facility that can be used for various youth sports and athletic training.
“The creation of this facility is truly about leveling the playing field, literally. Youth sports teams in the city will now have access to the same type of year round training opportunities, scrimmages and practice sessions and access to sports medicine professionals as their suburban counterparts,” Warren said.
The grant money is administered with the help of the Community Foundation in Rochester, and its President & CEO, Jennifer Leonard, notes that a study done a couple of years ago found a need for more sports and recreation programs in the city.
“State of Play, Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes sharply highlighted the scarcity of indoor sports facilities in the city and rural areas and of the athletic trainers for high school athletes and sports teams,” Leonard said.
The entire project, called the Rochester Community Sports Complex, costs $2.1 million. The city is contributing $1.64 million with $460,000 coming from the Wilson Foundation.
City Council will need to vote to accept the grant and receive the funds when it meets on January 21.
There is also the possibility of the University of Rochester will eventually provide sports medicine services to athletes using the complex. The new sports facility is slated to open this fall.