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Seeking community support for Bateman basketball courts

It was a good job, but only part of the job.

Last summer, 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.

A community-wide effort, with an anonymous donor contributing, brought some life back to the courts with new backboards and hoops. But the courts themselves are full of cracks and need to be resurfaced so people can use them safely.

Community member and volunteer George Kneeland has made bringing the courts back an ongoing concern and project. “I want to continue to convey the importance of the Bateman courts to the entire Shelter Island community, that includes all homeowners, renters, guests and visitors,” Mr. Kneeland told the Reporter. “These courts provide incredible benefits to the community.”

He noted that recreational and social opportunities are essential on a small island that depends on free outdoor activities. As he said, it’s not just some folks shooting hoops, listing other activities including rollerblading, touch football, kickball, skateboarding, kids learning to ride bicycles (especially with training wheels), chalk writing/artistry, geometry classes from high school and an area for youths to socialize, hang out and listen to music.

“There are lots of middle school and high school kids who play there for hours upon hours,” Mr. Kneeland said. He recently saw Shelter Island Athletic Hall of Famer Tristan Wisseman playing on the courts he grew up on, polishing his skills as so many of the great athletes who came out of Shelter Island have done.

Based on estimates that he’s received, it will take $36,000 to renovate the courts. The work will involve treating the cracks, resurfacing, painting the lines, fixing drainage issues and landscaping.

“We also plan to have ongoing clean-up and maintenance provided by the school and the town to ensure at least 20-plus years of longevity,” Mr. Kneeland said. 

He’s hoping to launch a GoFundMe Campaign called “Save the Courts” that will go live within a week or two. For more information on how you can help keep this community and sports facility in good shape, contact Mr. Kneeland at [email protected].