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State funding to help pay for two Syracuse recreation projects

By Eric Reinhardt


SYRACUSE — State funding will benefit projects at the Magnarelli Community Center gymnasium and at Grant Middle School on Syracuse’s Northside.

The Magnarelli Center will use $150,000 for upgrades to the facility’s indoor basketball courts. The City of Syracuse will utilize a grant of more than $203,000 to construct a soccer field at Grant Middle School.

“One of our missions is to get people moving, get people active, increase usage of our buildings,” says Baye Muhammad, commissioner of parks, recreation & youth programs for the City of Syracuse.

He spoke with the Business Journal News Network on Oct. 28.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and New York State Assemblyman William Magnarelli (D–Syracuse) announced the funding during an event held Oct. 23 at the Magnarelli Center and in a corresponding news release.

Crews will use the $203,000 grant to turn what are now unused baseball diamonds behind Grant Middle School into a soccer field. The Syracuse School District and recreational programs within the City of Syracuse Parks Department will use the new field, according to the news release.

“We’ll be administering the grant. The school will be using the facility … that’s what we want,” says Muhammad. 

The city hopes to have the work on the new soccer field complete by next summer, he adds. 

The city has yet to choose a designer for the project. 

“We still have to do some design [work] … and our procurement process,” says Muhammad.

The funding for the Magnarelli Center will pay for new basketball backboards, a divider curtain for the gymnasium, and new safety pads.

The city anticipates the divider curtain will generate more activity in that venue.

“Maybe have yoga going on one side and have pickup basketball going on the other side, so it allows an increased use of the space,” Muhammad says.

More than 350 senior citizens and 250 youth use the center each week, according to the news release.

Magnarelli secured the grants for both projects.

“Basketball is extremely popular at the center and these new improvements will allow more youth to be involved. Soccer is becoming one of our most desired sports and these new fields will add a vital resource to many of our Northside families,” said Magnarelli.

Both Magnarelli and New York State Senator David Valesky (D–Oneida) also helped secure a total of $460,000 in funding for another Syracuse recreation venue.

The two lawmakers joined the city in a ceremony to formally reopen Meachem Ice Rink on Oct. 8.

Syracuse used the funding to replace the existing ice mat. The Meachem ice rink closed earlier this year due to malfunctions in the ice-cooling system, including pipe corrosion, according to the office of Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.

The Corcoran High School hockey team, two youth-hockey leagues, and more than 24,000 skaters use the rink annually, the mayor said.       

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