Members of the local community gathered in front of 41st Street beach houses on Saturday, October 16 for the groundbreaking ceremony for the newly renovated basketball courts.
New York State Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson said that just months before the renovations, the basketball courts were dilapidated and in poor condition.
Because of his condition, Anderson pushed back on the New York City Housing Authority to include renovations to the courts at Beach 41st Street and Hammels, which he said had been left out of the mayor’s Safe Summer initiative to renovate 25 other courts around of NYCHA housing.
“This initiative is so important because it gives these kids a safe place to play,” Anderson said.
New upgrades to the outdoor basketball courts included the installation of two new glass backboards, new hoops, improved lighting, a new asphalt surface and a new coat of paint.
“It’s a facelift. It’s not a complete renovation,” Anderson said. “We still have work to do. I’m currently working on trying to include a seating area in the stands so people can watch the games safely.
Members of Team Crate, a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to developing Far Rockaway’s youth, joined Anderson this weekend for the grand opening. With nearly 30 kids in attendance, everyone was excited and eager to start practicing on the new hoops.
Rashaun Banjo, one of the organizers of Team Crate, said he started to focus more on young people when he realized there was “a big gap between service and engagement. with young people in the Far Rockaway community”.
“We started to realize there was a need for youth athletics and mentorship in the community,” Banjo said.
Team Crate works within the community to provide leadership development and other uplifting opportunities. More recently, they took a trip to see the New York Knicks play at Madison Square Garden.
“Thank you so much to Khaleel and Team Crate for working together to bring more activity to our community,” said Eugenia Gibson, president of the Beach 41st Street Houses Tenant Association. “Children are the way… when we invest in our communities, we invest in our future.
After the ceremony, the children received a free gift from Anderson and the Long Island Nets farm team.