Some residents have stepped up for Island youth and the community at large to revitalize an essential part of recreation in the center of town.
After a recent feature article in the Reporter on the rough shape of the basketball courts on Bateman Road, an anonymous donor has pledge $15,000 to match the first $15,000 received toward the “Support the Courts” fundraising goal, a community-led effort.
Community member and volunteer George Kneeland told the Reporter that with that donation, he has received another donation of $5,000.
Mr. 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.
A GoFundMe site is not live yet but donations can currently be made through the Shelter Island Lions Club Foundation at http://shelterislandlions.org/support-the-courts/
Click on “Donate to SI Lions Foundation” and there will be a link to “Support the Courts.”
The courts are a work in progress, beginning last summer when they 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.
“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.
For more information on how you can help keep this community and sports facility in good shape contact Mr. Kneeland at [email protected].