Turf once practiced on by Packers greats such as Donald Driver and Brett Favre has found another home in Wisconsin at the Journey House Football Field and Stadium in Milwaukee's Mitchell Park.
The synthetic turf once covered Ray Nitschke Field, where the Packers work almost daily during the season. It was donated to Journey House by the team and it will serve over 500 youth as part of the Journey House Youth Football and Cheerleading Program and League.
"We just had it installed and we are elated about it," said Charles Brown, the Director of Youth Programs. "We have 16 teams and the Milwaukee public schools have started a city conference, so there will be in the neighborhood of 30 teams playing on the field. Games will start at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and probably won't end until 10 p.m."
The field was removed and transported from Green Bay in 2009, and has been in storage while Journey House raised funds for its football field enhancements project. The NFL Grassroots/National Local Initiatives Support Corporation contributed a $200,000 grant toward those efforts. Ribbon-cutting on the new field is set for June 6 and Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy will attend.
"This community is one of the most diverse, ethnic areas of our city and we have some economic issues that need to be addressed, and we see this field as a jewel for our community," Brown said. "It's already generated a lot of excitement. People already come by just to see it."
It doesn't hurt that Brown's team is the Journey House Packers, so it's truly a home field. All youth in the leagues from ages 6-14 are required to have a Milwaukee Public Library card and submit a book report or project at the end of the season.
"This field is going to see some action," Brown said. "There aren't many fields in the city, and this is one of only two turf fields. We have lights and bleachers and a scoreboard, so it will be one of the premier fields to play on. I'm already doing something every day I come to work to get ready for football season."