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February 21, 2018

ESPN, Under Armour to fund community revitalization effort in Philly

The companies will team up with a New York nonprofit to fund new recreation facilities in Philly's neighborhoods

Development Parks
Carroll - Philadelphia Skyline Buildings Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Philadelphia skyline seen from the 'Dalian on the Park' building above Whole Foods Market near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

ESPN and Under Armour will work with the Local Initiatives Support Corp. to back projects aimed at turning vacant lots into recreation spaces in three cities, including Philadelphia.

The LISC, a New York nonprofit, announced on Wednesday that the three firms had launched the RePlay initiative, which will direct more than $400,000 in grants to local organizations dedicated to creating safe parks for exercise and play in Philly, Baltimore and Los Angeles.

The organization said it will "identify projects and provide technical assistance to local residents and community groups." 

It will also use funding provided by ESPN and Under Armour to help plan and carry out each project.

"Vacant lots in neighborhoods present great opportunities to provide access to safe, healthy recreation spaces in communities," a press release from the LISC stated.

The RePlay initiative will provide $10,000 in planning grants and up to $75,000 in implementation grants in all three cities, according to the release.

"Good recreational spaces are significant threads in the social fabric of healthy communities," LISC President and CEO Maurice A. Jones said in a statement. 

"Our collaboration with ESPN and Under Armour gives us an opportunity to make those communities better and stronger."

It was not immediately clear how many projects in Philly would benefit from the program.

The announcement comes as Mayor Jim Kenney's administration continues to carry out its Rebuild Philadelphia initiative, a $500 million investment to renovate hundreds of parks, libraries and recreation centers throughout the city. 

In December 2017, the city announced plans to renovate 61 sites during the first phase of the project, which was expected to be completed in June 2019. Overall, the city plans to implement the program over the next seven years.