State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler made the announcement on April 5 prior to a girls basketball game at the Edward O’Malley Athletic Association at 144 Moore St.
“I’m very excited to bring these state dollars back to help improve the EOM, which serves a really important role in the lives of so many children, youth and adults in our community,” Fiedler said. “Making sure there are safe, healthy spaces to play, socialize and relax is incredibly important, and fixing the roof and installing air conditioning will help make that happen.”
The $229,000 state grant will be used to repair the gymnasium roof and to install air conditioning in the gym and the meeting hall. The community center provides athletic, educational and social activities for many residents of the Pennsport and Whitman neighborhoods. The club derives its name from Edward O’Malley, a neighborhood humanitarian who sought to increase youngsters’ socialization opportunities. The EOM Athletic Association has been around for more than 60 years.
“We have 700-plus kids that come through EOM every year,” said EOM Athletic Association President Fran Kelly, who started coming to EOM when he was 10 years old and has been involved with the organization for 50 years. “This means everything to them. This money will help us carry on the tradition. Upgrading our air conditioning means that our kids are not going to be sweating all summer long.”
Local families gathered in the hall to celebrate the announcement with pizza and soda.
“I really appreciate Rep. Fiedler bringing back this money to Pennsport,” said neighborhood resident John Murawski, who runs the nonprofit Personal Health, Youth Sports, Education & Development “I started playing at EOM as a 5-year-old, my kids come here, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”