The field was dedicated roughly six years ago in honor of the late Mama Johnson, a long-time resident and employee of the Hoboken Housing Authority. Mama worked through the housing agency's resident services department to provide many recreational outlets for the city's children.
“We are taking her mission one step further. We are breaking down a barrier for our residents. Many of you don’t know or remember what this field was once like. When I was a young boy, it was only a dirt field. We had to go all the way across town to practice or play games,” said HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia. “Now our residents have their own state of the art facility that others will come to. We are exposing our children and our families to the community at large, as well as exposing the community at large to the housing authority.”
Although the families of the Hoboken Housing Authority have priority at Mama Johnson Field, it is shared with the city’s recreation department as the resident children play in the city's sports leagues, as well as the entire community.
Mama Johnson Field is home to Hoboken’s girls' softball program, PAL grunts football, and, most recently, the citywide instructional soccer program. ZogSports and ABL Sports also operate recreational adult leagues for young professionals. These programs include the popular kickball and softball programs.
The $950,000 project was funded partially by community development block grants, capital funds and a shared services agreement with a City of Hoboken bond.
“I’m thrilled to be here at the new Mama Johnson field,” said Senator Menendez who has worked to provide federal funding to the Hoboken Housing Authority, including $500,000 to make upgrades to the field. “Mama Johnson knew what we needed to do to keep children engaged and active, to keep them out of trouble. By giving them a place to play ball, she kept kids on the field, off the streets and out of trouble. This wonderful field is an investment in our children and our community.”
"This field will boost our efforts to integrate the community and expose families outside the Hoboken Housing Authority to the excellence of our residents and assets," said Executive Director Carmelo Garcia. "I believe this field has enabled the tearing down of a barrier that used to exist within the community at large. We are ecstatic to offer this state-of-the-art multi-purpose artificial turf field."