DENVER – Sometime in March, on the southeast cusp of Valverde Park, workers will begin clearing the way for what will be the $6.6 million Jerry Kennedy Police Athletic League headquarters. The 9,000-square- foot building will house the offices of the Denver Police Athletic League, and several training and boxing gyms.
Three spiffy athletic fields with artificial turf will be set in place right outside the building. And when the project is completed sometime in 2010, the lives of a lot of at-risk kids may be a little less risky and a lot more fun.
The project comes courtesy of the late cable-TV pioneer Bill Daniels. But it’s not the first blessing he’s bestowed on the PAL.
“Without Bill Daniels, PAL would never have grown to be what it is now,” says Jake Schroeder, the organization’s deputy director.
Daniels died in 2000, but his philanthropy lives on through the Denver-based Daniels Fund. In fact, says Schroeder, “Mr. Daniels has always been our guardian angel.”
“Bill actually made one of the first donations that caused the formation of PAL. It was $25,000, I think, back in the early ’60s,” adds Jerry Kennedy, a retired Denver police captain who spent 34 years on the force, overseeing everything from SWAT to narcotics to vice to detectives. “He understood the relationship between sports and kids, how it deterred them from crime. He loved kids. He loved cops, too.”