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Copyright 2013 Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC
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The Philadelphia Daily News
September 11, 2013 Wednesday
FINAL Edition
LOCAL; P-com Biggie News Update; Pg. 08
309 words
Nutter, others discuss reducing violence through sports
BY JAD SLEIMAN; Daily News Staff Writer, 215-854-5938

HOW CAN PHILLY use sports to save its most vulnerable youngsters from violence?

For starters, a new basketball court, apparently.

The Beyond Sport Summit, an annual international convention aimed at curing social ills through sports, is being held in Philly this week. On Friday, the summit organization unveiled a new court at Heritage Recreation Center, at 15th and Clearfield streets, in North Philly.

Yesterday, Mayor Nutter and a group of youth-athletics leaders agreed that more time on the court meant less time in court. They also agreed that more needs to be done.

Nutter extolled city efforts to expand public swimming-pool hours during the summer and to create playing fields. He noted a 40 percent drop in homicides city-wide compared with last year at this time.

"Kids who are engaged in sports, arts and culture activities actually do better in school," Nutter said. "They learn professional skills like discipline and teamwork."

Robert Coleman, athletics director for Philly's public schools, called school sports teams "surrogate families" for kids who don't always have someone to come home to. He hopes the school district, still reeling from a series of closures and layoffs, will one day get an indoor stadium.

Lt. William Eddis, commander of the Police Athletic League, called Philly's PAL system the model for the rest of the country, but said the 25 locations aren't enough.

The summit was held in London last year. Founder Nick Keller said organizers chose Philly to capitalize on the city's passion for sports and its numerous community programs.

The organization is in talks to form an advisory committee with the city to stay in town after the summit moves on. Former 76er Dikembe Mutombo is scheduled to participate in the final day of the summit today at Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 12th and Market streets.

On Twitter: @jad_sleiman

September 11, 2013

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