Photo Credits: City of Bayonne
On Saturday, January 28, the City of Bayonne’s Recreation Division held a ceremony to celebrate the $1 million federal grant it will receive to construct a ball field for the Buddy Baseball program at 11th Street and Avenue E. Buddy Baseball, a popular activity for young people with special needs, was established in Bayonne seven years ago.
At the ceremony, Recreation Superintendent Pete Amadeo explained that the funding process began last March when Mayor Jimmy Davis contacted him about providing information for a federal grant application. Amadeo’s feeling at the time was that “the chances were small” for receiving the grant. Months passed. On December 23, 2022, Mayor Davis advised Amadeo that the grant application was a success. Speaking on Saturday, Amadeo thanked Mayor Davis, the City Council, the Public Works Department, the Police Department, the Fire Department, the Office of Emergency Management, the Bayonne Board of Education, Bayonne High School, Bayonne Little League, the Bayonne PAL, and everyone else for their support. “Buddy Baseball brought the whole town together,” Amadeo said.
Addressing the crowd at the ceremony, Mayor Davis called Pete Amadeo “the hardest-working person I know.” Mayor Davis thanked U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker for supporting the $1 million grant for the ball field. Referring to the Buddy Baseball players, the mayor said, “We hit the lottery in these children.”
Superintendent of Schools John Niesz called Buddy Baseball “absolutely amazing.” He described Buddy Baseball as being “a big part of everything we do.”
Jennifer Vecchiarelli, Assistant Superintendent of Special Services for the Bayonne Board of Education, thanked Pete Amadeo, Mayor Davis, the City Council, the Board of Education, and the City of Bayonne “for this beautiful field.”
Hudson County Commissioner and Assistant Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Kopacz said, “The field is second to none.” He called Pete Amadeo “the best Recreation Director in the State of New Jersey.”
November 2023 will mark the tenth anniversary of special needs sports in Bayonne. Principal Maureen Hurley Brown of Woodrow Wilson Community School said that “the one constant” in those programs is Pete Amadeo.
Speaking about Buddy Baseball on behalf of the City Council, Council President Gary LaPelusa said, “Everyone here does such a great job.” He congratulated Buddy Baseball on receiving the federal grant, and said that the Council is proud of the ballplayers.
The ceremony ended with several of the Buddy Baseball players and adults popping tubes of sparkling confetti in celebration.