Monday morning, the Oakland Raiders in conjunction with the National Football League Foundation Grassroots Program, presented The Friends of Oakland Parks & Recreation a $200,000 grant, which will be used to help fund the installation of a new synthetic turf football field at Oakland's Curt Flood Sports Complex.
A multitude of city officials were in attendance at the ceremony, including Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Council Member Noel Gallo, as well as representatives from Visit Oakland and the Oakland Raiders.
Former San Francisco Giant Nate Oliver, who was a friend of Curt Flood, was also in attendance and believes that the renovation to the sports complex is a fitting tribute to the Oakland native and former professional baseball player.
"Finally somebody is doing something for Curt, because he's done so much for everybody else," said Oliver. "All you have to do is look around you. You have baseball, you have football, and then you have the basketball over there. All three different sports at one facility, and everybody's going to benefit because of the upgrading and because of the renovation of this place. Curt would probably just be turning over with a smile on his face after all these years."
Following the ceremony, Mayor Quan expressed her appreciation to the Raiders for helping the project reach its culmination.
"This park is going to be a modern park, the best quality Astroturf, which will allow people to use it a lot more, and all season long," Mayor Quan said. "We want to thank Mark Davis and his mom, and the whole Davis family, and the Raiders family for giving us the closing nail. This is a two million dollar project and the $200,000 is just what we needed to finish the fundraising."
Additionally, members of the Fremont High School football team, who play their home games on the Curt Flood Fields, were in attendance during Monday's ceremony.
Senior Tyshone Gaines, who won't get a chance to play on the new turf, spoke about his gratitude that his teammates will be able to play football on a new field of which they can be proud.
"We've been seeing other schools with turf, and better fields, so it gives a new sight to the community and also the school to play on something new," Gaines said. "Also, with it coming from the higher power of the Raiders, it's a good thing and we're grateful for it."
Hall of Famer Willie Brown echoed Gaines' sentiment that a new field would provide positives for the Oakland community.
"It means a lot to kids; when they see a brand new field, they want to participate in things like that," Brown said. "It's important that they're redoing it, and getting involved with things like this throughout the whole community."
In addition to the presentation of the grant, the ceremony also officially kicked off Raiders Week in Oakland, in preparation for the team's home opener against the Houston Texans on Sunday.
The week of activities is organized by Visit Oakland, and there are numerous initiatives citywide celebrating the Silver and Black, including a Raiders flag flying atop City Hall and "GO RAIDERS!" displayed on AC Transit bus headers.
Alison Best, President & CEO of Visit Oakland, talked about the excitement for the week of celebration, and what she hopes the events accomplish.
"We are so excited to kick off the season, so we wanted the whole city to embrace that passion and excitement before the home opener," Best said. "We have people all across the city, whether it's hotel staff, bus drivers… There are flags being flown and cheer cards going up in windows."
She continued, "We're just trying to get the whole community really psyched for Sunday's home opener and then carry that excitement right through the season."
To join in with the celebration, you can use the hashtag #RAIDERSWEEK14 on social media.