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The Gus Macker basketball tournament will not be played in downtown Buffalo this year but Common Council President Darius G. Pridgen is making sure city kids are part of the action.

Pridgen has volunteered to provide transportation for inner-city kids to the popular three-on-three tournament, which will be played July 19-20 at Darien Lake Theme Park.

Pridgen told tournament organizers he would find travel resources in discretionary funds allotted to his Ellicott District, or use personal funds “to ensure no one in the city who would normally participate would miss out.”

And the Gus Macker organizers took him up on his offer.

“I think it’s important that, although the Macker has moved outside of Buffalo, that people who participated and who would like to are still a part of it, because it was such a benefit, I believe, to see such a diverse demographic of people working in kind together,” Pridgen said.

Pridgen said transportation details have yet to be made final and tournament organizers likely will publicize that information soon. He added that either school buses will be rented or vehicles from True Bethel Baptist Church, where he is pastor, would be used.

“We will participate in whatever way they allow us to,” Pridgen said. “We are on standby for whatever is needed.”

On May 15, Macker officials announced that the 24th annual tournament would be moving from its traditional Niagara Square location to Darien Lake Theme Park – the Genesee County venue about an hour’s drive from the city.

With sponsors dropping off, the event had become too costly for the Buffalo Police Athletic League to host on its own, and Darien Lake stepped up as the new lead sponsor and a partner for PAL.

The participation cost has dropped from $160 to $148 per team or $37 per person and covers admission into the theme park.

email: amansfield@buffnews.com