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PATERSON, N.J. (PIX11) — A run-down park in Paterson is getting back in the game.

“The children here deserve it,” said William Rodriguez, director of the Paterson Department of Public Works. “There are a lot of great athletes that live in this neighborhood who deserve to play on a state-of-the-art field, and we’re going to provide it for them.”

A new turf field, new fencing and concrete dugouts will become reality at Lester Titus Field, thanks in part to an anonymous $600,000 donation to the nonprofit Friends of Paterson Parks. City officials said the nearly $1 million project will be balanced out by American Rescue Plan money.

“This field is for the future and the future is the next generation, the kids,” said Dipto Roy of Friends of Paterson Parks. 

The field has become dilapidated, stemming from a shooting three years ago in the area. The park has not been used since.

“After that, it was totally closed off for the kids to come and play because it was very dangerous,” said Roy.

Titus Field is the latest in Paterson to be improved, with several others, including Pennington Park, ready for an early summer ribbon-cutting.

Titus Field sits right across the alleyway from the Dr. Frank Napier School of Technology. School administrators say kids have been asking for years when they’ll finally be able to play ball.

“They ask all the time, incessantly, where they can have a place to play that’s not concrete,” said School Principal Derwin Smith. “I believe that an improved park will be a great place for our students to have recreation after school and during school when we have our school activities such as field day.”

Titus Field could be ready for the school’s field day in late June.