NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Since opening its doors two years ago, young people have been coming to the Niagara Community Center to perfect their golf swing and tennis serve—and that's not all.
"Right now we have a lot of baseball going on in here, soccer, tennis, golf, cheerleading," said Gary Hall, Niagara Community Center executive director.
The center was the vision of Hall, who is also the CEO of Waste Technologies of Lewiston.
"This is the result of a journey that lasted several years to build a facility that does so many different things: soccer, tennis, baseball, lacrosse, first team programming, just so many things. Some active, healthy things for the youth of our community," said Hall.
Now, the community athletic center is getting a huge boost from one of the biggest names in sports: Buffalo Bills Founder Ralph C. Wilson Jr.
On Wednesday, Wilson's widow Mary stopped by the facility that now bears her husband's name. Earlier this year, the Wilson Foundation donated $1 million to the community center.
"They brought me out here a year ago and I was so impressed. I went back to our foundation, talked with Jim Boyle, who is our vice president of programming, and worked with them and Jim came out here and looked at the program they're doing and it fit in our mission statement, which is to support youth and sports and Ralph exercised every day of his life and he would absolutely love this," said Mary Wilson.
Hall says the money will help them to fulfill their mission of serving young people.
“We need some space for equipment storage, we have some thoughts on building out an innovation center and a STEM lab. We're kind of working through our due diligence and really how to spend that money wisely and to serve the youth of our community," said Hall.