Outdoor basketball courts are making a comeback at a Groveport Madison schoolyard.
Such asphalt surfaced courts have been in place for a long while at Groveport and Glendening elementaries as well as Groveport Madison High School. However, over the years the outdoor basketball hoops came down at many of the district’s schools in the Blacklick Estates area due to vandalism and wear and tear.
The lack of basketball courts on public grounds led to the growth of individuals’ portable basketball poles being set up in the streets, particularly in Blacklick Estates.
"Kids were playing basketball in the streets, which they legally can’t do," said Madison Township Administrator Larry Flowers. "It’s a safety issue for the kids and drivers."
Flowers said he recently drove through Blacklick Estates and talked with some youths at a portable hoop set up in the street. They told him that they had no where else to play ball since the area schoolyards had no baskets.
Flowers approached Groveport Madison Schools Business Manager Larry Ricchi and a plan was put in motion to set up outdoor baskets at Groveport Madison Middle School North. Additionally, requests for basketball courts came from a teacher and the principal at Middle School North.
"Poles, backstops, and hoops will be installed at Middle School North," said Ricchi. "There are four in all and they will be set up as two full size courts. This will allow two full court games or two half court games. The baskets will be at regulation height with nets. This is well suited for middle school age children and older."
According to Ricchi, the two full size courts will be set up in place of two of the four tennis courts. The feeling was that the tennis courts were not used, but that there was a strong interest in basketball.
"This space was chosen because it is relatively flat and has the required space," said Ricchi. "It is also centrally located in the Blacklick Estates area. It’s adjacent to the parking lot and allows parents to park and watch their children or even partake in their games."
Ricchi said the equipment will cost about $2,500 and be installed by the district’s maintenance staff now that school is out of session. He added that, in order to provide sufficient out of bounds space, the fence around the court is being removed.
"This is time consuming and must be done in two steps," said Ricchi. "The first step is to remove the chain link so that the equipment can be moved in. The existing fence poles will be used to support the new equipment while the cement sets. Then the fence pole structure will be removed and the holes filled."
While Madison Township has no funds available to help in the cost of setting up the basketball courts, township officials support Groveport Madison’s efforts.
"It’s a simple way of providing inexpensive, safe, available, healthy recreation for kids," said Flowers. "School grounds are a common public gathering space. It’s important to have amenities like this available for kids."