Basketball courts

Alize Johnson’s efforts continue and turn to the park’s basketball courts | News, Sports, Jobs

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette The Memorial Park basketball courts were the place to be as temperatures soared into the 50s on Sunday afternoon.

Score another assist for Alize Johnson.

The town native and Indiana Pacers rookie pledged Monday to donate up to $150,000 to build two National Basketball Association quality courts, ideally in Memorial Park, where Johnson learned to perform.

Fresh out of his donation to buy sneakers for his alma mater players at St. John Neumann Regional Academy, Johnson, through a spokesperson, said he wanted to enter into a memorandum. agree with the city.

The complex would help other young baseball players learn skills and perhaps reach elite levels in college or the professional leagues.

“Alize wanted to give other kids in the city and area a better park to play in so they too could have a shot at making it to the NBA,” said Mayor Gabriel J. Campana. “This is the park where Alize grew up playing basketball”, said Campana, who taught Johnson earlier in life when the mayor was a teacher.

Johnson, who remains a rookie with the Indiana Pacers, which is in contention for the Eastern Conference playoffs, said he wanted to see the courts built.

“The project would cost taxpayers nothing,” said Campana.

Today the “Alize Johnson Foundation” began making strides to help the community that has supported him along the way, said Jaron Bartholomew, a spokesperson for Johnson.

Although funding comes from Johnson, it is hoped that individuals, businesses and organizations can come together and participate in the foundation, especially for the court, Bartholomew said.

Courts may bear Johnson’s name. “I would like that to happen” said Campana. “Who would have thought I taught the young man when he was in primary school.”

The pickleball courts are to be moved to Shaw Place Park in the city’s east end, which has comfort facilities and restrooms, Campana said.

These grounds are showing their age and have cracks and puddles during the rain. Pickleball is gaining momentum and players wanted to have restrooms, which Memorial Park does not have.

A lot of repair work needs to be done to make Shaw Place Park the pickleball courts players want, said Ken Huling, a pickleball player and group defender in the area.

It is possible for players to temporarily use the tennis courts at Elm Park, he said.

“I think it’s a wonderful gift that will add a lot of excitement to the park,” said William E. Nichols Jr., the city’s chief financial officer.

Councilman Randall J. Allison said the gift was wonderful. He also noted that the council should review the details, the legalities and the diagrams, as well as the plan.

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