TOLEDO, Ohio — The Toledo Lucas County Police Athletic League is getting a $1.1 million multi-purpose athletic field at 1111 E. Manhattan Blvd., the city of Toledo announced Thursday.
It might not look like much right now, but city leaders and police see the potential for great things in this field.
"Once the field is complete, we're going to have baseball, soccer, flag football," PAL Program Director Sgt. Ron Paris said.
And their eye for potential doesn't stop there. Paris said they use athletics programs as opportunities to mentor local youth, and the more they can offer, the more people they can reach.
"Most of our kids are at risk, so a lot is missing for these kids, such as guidance," Paris said. "So when we get them into our program, the goal is to give them something to do, particularly after school."
He said it's in those critical after-school hours that kids often make choices they can't take back, so getting them involved puts them on the right path. And with multiple well-known athletes like Zia Cooke and Jared Anderson both being graduates of the program, Paris said seeing their success is one of his life's greatest joys.
"Ever since leaving military service, I've wanted to work with young people, and with the opportunity Chief Kral has given me, it's a dream come true," Paris said.
This project is only a portion of the 100 programs the city has offered for kids in 2022, all funded with money from the American Rescue Plan Act. Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said it's all done in the name of keeping kids safe and keeping violence to a minimum.
"If this is the time that is remembered as the time we put focus on kids, well, that would be a wonderful legacy to look back on 20 years from now," Kapszukiewicz said.
Construction on the field is expected to be complete by Thanksgiving, and people can look forward to it being open next spring.