When more soccer-loving, immigrant communities of East-African and Latino descent poured into Minneapolis, local leaders understood the need for more soccer fields in the city.
Officials from the Hennepin County, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and Cedar-Riverside neighborhood gathered Monday to celebrate a new soccer field at Currie Park, next to the Brian Coyle Center.
A total of $315,000 grant from the Hennepin Youth Sports Program and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board was set aside for the renovation of the field and the basketball and tennis courts at the park.
For many years, the neighborhood has been stigmatized as a center of gang violence. The new field will provide a safe environment for immigrant communities in the area, said the president of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, John Erwin.
“The more the rec centers get used, the less violence you have,” Erwin said.
Speaking of the neighborhood and its high-rise apartments, a home to thousands of Somalis, Erwin said, “The community has changed, and to meet the demands of the changing community, we recognized that we need to have soccer fields all over the city.”
“I want to pay tribute to the elders in East African community,” said Hennepin County Commissioners, Peter McLaughlin. “The elders raised their cry for help. And they said, ‘We need facilities for our younger people. We need to make sure that they have a safe place to go to.’”
“We’re very thankful to have this field,” said Mohamed Jama, co-founder of Cedar-Riverside Youth Council. “We appreciate our elected officials from the Hennepin County and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.”
Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Collaborative.