MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings players, alumni and administrators gathered with elected representatives, school and community leaders on Tuesday for the presentation of a $100,000 grant for Pete Guzy Field at Thomas Edison High School in Northeast Minneapolis.
The event started with a ceremony and was followed by a series of on-field drills with the Tommies football team that were led by Vikings Youth Football Manager and former linebacker E.J. Henderson. Current Vikings Tom Johnson, Jeff Locke, Cullen Loeffler, Jerick McKinnon, DuJuan Harris, Kevin McDermott and DeMarcus Van Dyke, former Vikings Dave Osborne and Rickey Young, pro scout Jeff Robinson, mascot Viktor and Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders guided the high school players through drill stations on a sun-drenched afternoon.
The Vikings recently presented a $100,000 grant for Pete Guzy Field at Thomas Edison High School in Northeast Minneapolis.
The field, with help from the grant and a commitment to environmental sustainability, will be able to handle — and thrive from — rainier days. An underground cistern will collect storm water runoff from the roof of the school's gymnasium and yet-to-be-built plaza. That water will be used by the field's irrigation system. The field also has been re-graded and sodded.
The grant was awarded through a partnership between the NFL's Grassroots Program, the Minnesota Vikings, Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC), the Edison Community & Sports Foundation, the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, Minneapolis Public Schools, and the City of Minneapolis.
Edison High School Principal Carla Steinbach and Minneapolis Councilman of Ward 1 Kevin Reich said the storm water collection and irrigation system can be worked into the curriculum by providing an interactive educational space.
"They're already integrating it into the classroom experience," Reich said. "They've got programs that will monitor how the water circulates and all the science behind that, so we're getting a real serious 1-2 punch for the students. The community now has an incredibly well-designed field, and they also have something that's sustainable."
Stephanie Johnson with the MWMO said the field's system helps reinforce the message that storm water can be a resource instead of going down the drain.
"That water would typically go off the site and into the storm drain and immediately down into the Mississippi River, so what we're doing is capturing it, reusing it onsite, and under most conditions, the water will never leave the site. It will just be utilized here," Johnson said. "What they've been doing is bringing potable water in here and using it to irrigate the field. I think in 2013, the number was 2.5 million gallons of drinking water that were used to irrigate the field. It's a big number, so there's a big resource impact in that, in terms of environmental effect, but also monetary impact, so now we're just harnessing what Mother Nature is giving us and using that."
The field is the eighth delivered through the Vikings partnership with the NFL and LISC and first with a natural grass surface.
"We've gone over a million dollars in Minnesota for these fields for youth football, for youth sports and activities, so it's a great partnership and we're proud to be able to deliver this," Vikings Executive Vice President of Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said. "This is what it's all about for a lot of people at the Vikings, an opportunity to give back and partner with communities."
About the NFL Foundation
The National Football League Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by football — from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation represents the 32 NFL clubs and supports the health and safety of athletes, youth football and the communities which support our game. For more information on the NFL Foundation, visit www.nflfoundation.org.
LISC combines corporate, government & philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has invested $14.7 billion to build or rehab more than 330,000 affordable homes and develop 53 million square feet of retail, community and educational space nationwide, leveraging nearly $44.1 billion in total development activity. For more information, visit www.lisc.org.
About Edison Community & Sports Foundation
Established in 1983, the Edison Community & Sports Foundation consists of Edison High School alumni and community who originally organized to honor coaches and past athletes while building scholarship funds for Edison students. Today's Foundation has expanded to support Edison High School in a broader spectrum while keeping the past connected to the future. For more info, visit www.edisonsportsfoundation.org.
About Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS)
Minneapolis Public Schools promises an inspirational education experience for over 35,000 students in safe, welcoming environments established for all diverse learners to acquire the tools and skills necessary to engage confidently in the global 21st century community. For more information, visit www.mpls.k12.mn.us.
About Mississippi Watershed Management Organization
The MWMO provides for management of water quality, water quantity, & habitat through the development and implementation of projects, activities, & policies that respect ecosystem principles and reflect changing community values. The MWMO assists & cooperates with units of government, non-profit agencies, and a variety of groups in managing its water resources to achieve this vision. For more information, visit www.mwmo.org.