Seahawk or Bronco loyalties aside, Riverdale residents will have something else to look forward to when the Super Bowl comes to New Jersey on Sunday, Feb. 2: a new gym at Riverdale Neighborhood House.
On Jan. 27, the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee’s charity initiative announced plans to donate money to 50 after-school facilities in the New York and New Jersey area. Riverdale Neighborhood House on Mosholu Ave. will receive $100,000, to go toward its gym reconstruction plans.
The initiative, called the NY/NJ Snowflake Youth Foundation, is headquartered at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, where the Super Bowl will take place for the first time this year. The charity’s mission is to transform after-school facilities in the area surrounding the Super Bowl.
“It was a happy accident that we were in the midst of this construction project when the Super Bowl came to town. This is exactly the kind of thing that they like to fund,” said Dan Eudene, executive director of Riverdale Neighborhood House.
The foundation, launched in April 2012, aimed to harness Super Bowl enthusiasm into fundraising efforts for community projects in the neighborhoods surrounding MetLife Stadium. The committee selected projects ranging from gymnasium and field restorations to playground constructions.
Riverdale Neighborhood House and Mosholu Montefiore Community Center (MMCC) were the two Bronx-based projects chosen by the committee. MMCC will receive funding to remodel its teaching kitchen.
“When the power of the world’s greatest sporting event is combined with the generosity of the New York and New Jersey region, an indisputable difference can be made in the lives of our youth,” said Super Bowl Host Committee President Alfred Kelly.
The gym at Riverdale Neighborhood House will be an energy efficient, LEED certified building with solar panels. It will provide a year-round space for basketball and recreational activities, but will also double as a study space for tutoring and after-school programs.
While the principal funds for construction came from a grant from New York State provided by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and former Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, the money from the Host Committee will help finance some of the project’s unexpected costs and construction.
The space, aimed at children and teens, is expected to open in the spring.