It was a mess. The basketball courts on Bateman Road were in such disrepair that it was hard for youngsters and adults to play with hoops and backboards rusted out, some with holes and falling to pieces.
But a community-wide effort, with an anonymous donor contributing, brought life back to the courts.
To address the situation, in May a meeting was called that included School Superintendent Brian Doelger, Ed.D., Police Chief Jim Read, School Supervisor of Building and Grounds Mike Dunning, Town Recreation Director Bethany Ortmann, Councilman Jim Colligan and community member and volunteer George Kneeland.
One problem to solve was that though the school owned the courts, it was unclear who was tasked with maintaining them, Mr. Colligan said
“The courts have been in need of repair for the last several years,” Mr. Kneeland said. “Given school and town budget constraints, and COVID-19 circumstances, it’s been a challenge to take action and resolve the issues. Fortunately, thanks to some generous donations and community support, the basketball court renovation has started.”
Mr. Kneeland has been trying to upgrade the basketball courts for the last couple of years. He reached out to others to help raise money to replace all six backboards at a cost of just under $2,000. He has also fielded an estimate from an East End paving company to either repair or pave the courts.
“There are still large-size cracks in the asphalt which need to be repaired,” Mr. Kneeland said. “Subsequently, the playing area will need to be resurfaced.”
Mr. Colligan praised the town government’s, the school’s and the community’s partnership. “The generosity of people here on Shelter Island is amazing,” he said. “We’re not sure who the donor is, but on behalf of all those children and adults who play basketball on these courts, we want the donor to know how much we appreciate their gift to our community.”
Mr. Colligan also wanted to send out a special “thank you” to Mr. Kneeland for all his efforts in getting this project done.
He praised the town and school for their efforts to install the backboards and wanted to thank Mr. Dunning and Highway Superintendent Brian Sherman “for their assistance in getting these installed.”