Basketball courts

Colorful new murals adorn the once dilapidated Colton basketball courts – San Bernardino Sun

It takes very little to organize a basketball game.

A decent court with dueling rims, an orange and a handful of hoops does the trick.

Grab one and good luck getting burned.

Unless you are regulars at Elizabeth Davis Park in Colton.

  • Basketball games are played on the renovated courts at Elizabeth Davis Park, featuring a design and colors that represent the town of Colton, on Sunday, May 1, 2022. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer)

  • Basketball games are played at the renovated Elizabeth Davis Park...

    Basketball games are played on the renovated courts at Elizabeth Davis Park, featuring a design and colors that represent the town of Colton, on Sunday, May 1, 2022. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer)

  • Basketball games are played on the renovated courts of Elizabeth Davis Park...

    Basketball games are played on the renovated courts at Elizabeth Davis Park in Colton on Sunday, May 1, 2022. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer)

  • TJ opts for a layout during a basketball game played...

    TJ opts for a layout during a basketball game played on the renovated courts at Elizabeth Davis Park in Colton on Sunday, May 1, 2022. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer)

  • Basketball games are played on the renovated courts of Elizabeth Davis Park...

    Basketball games are played on the renovated courts at Elizabeth Davis Park in Colton on Sunday, May 1, 2022. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer)

  • Basketball games are played on the renovated courts of Elizabeth Davis Park...

    Basketball games are played on the renovated courts at Elizabeth Davis Park in Colton on Sunday, May 1, 2022. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer)

  • Josh Smith attacks the basket during a basketball game played...

    Josh Smith attacks the basket during a basketball game played on the renovated courts at Elizabeth Davis Park in Colton on Sunday, May 1, 2022. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer)

  • Basketball games are played on the renovated courts of Elizabeth Davis Park...

    Basketball games are played on the renovated courts at Elizabeth Davis Park in Colton on Sunday, May 1, 2022. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer)

  • Basketball games are played on the renovated courts of Elizabeth Davis Park...

    Basketball games are played on the renovated courts at Elizabeth Davis Park in Colton on Sunday, May 1, 2022. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer)

  • Portrait of Kareem Gongora and Victor Corral, who recently teamed up...

    Portrait of Kareem Gongora and Victor Corral, who recently partnered with a handful of agencies to renovate the basketball courts, at Elizabeth Davis Park in Colton on Sunday, May 1, 2022. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer)

Until recently, one of the Laurel Drive basketball courts was missing a rim. Cracks and slip spots marred the playing surface. The playing lines painted years ago were long gone.

In a recent interview, a city official could not recall the latest upgrades to the 6-acre park.

And yet, the regulars have succeeded.

Then, longtime resident Victor Corral called for help.

A Colton High graduate, hoops enthusiast and organizer of weekly open races at Elizabeth Davis Park, Corral, 35, sold basketball shorts from his brand Fentwood Hoops early last year to buy a backboard and a replacement rim. Then, in September, he launched a GoFundMe page asking for $40,000 to completely renovate the courts.

“It’s where I grew up playing as a kid and it’s now the home of our open races that we hold weekly for our community,” he wrote. “These courts are used every day and are not in their best shape. …

“Together we can make it happen!”

After Corral posted his plea online, a mutual friend put him in touch with Kareem Gongora, a San Bernardino County planning commissioner.

Together, with local representatives, they thought about ways to restore the courts.

Their quest eventually caught the attention of Blue Shield of California, which pledged $15,000 – enough for new bitumen – to the cause through Operation New Hope.

Late last year, Project Backboard, a nonprofit whose mission is to renovate public basketball courts and install large-scale, site-specific artwork on the surface, heard Corral’s story and, in partnership with Five Star Basketball, donated an additional $40,000.

Without hesitation, Colton’s decision makers agreed to the project.

Corral and SAVE Surfacing restored the playing surfaces earlier this year, and last month around 200 people marked the debut of the newly renovated courts with a ribbon cutting and youth basketball game.

The finished product “is about the community coming together and being proud of our city,” Corral said. “I hope this inspires everyone to come together, dream big and invest in our youth.”

While striking at ground level, the vibrant murals of the courts in Elizabeth Davis Park must be seen from above.

As designed by Corral and Project Backboard, “Colton” is spelled in all-caps across the two black roofs – once in the city’s hallmark brown and yellow, once in orange and two shades of green. The white helps complete the design on both grounds.

The colorful murals symbolize community pride, Gongora said.

In addition to the money raised to complete the courthouse renovation, Colton received $1.7 million from the county to improve all amenities in Elizabeth Davis Park.

Work should begin this summer.

“It’s a powerful story about dreaming big, having a vision and the power from below, bringing people together for the good of the community,” Gongora said. “Ultimately, people in the community came together to make this happen.”