The basketball courts at Central Park in Old Fourth Ward are about to get a little nicer.
The Atlanta Hawks Foundation announced on Wednesday that it is giving $50,000 to paint all four courts, put in new rims and backboards and put the Hawks logo on the courts. The donation is in conjunction with Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall’s “Year of Boulevard” (Yo Boulevard!) initiative.
At a press conference at the park, framed by the Atlanta skyline, neighbors and students from Intown Academy came out for the announcement.
Bob Williams, president of the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena, told the crowd, “We’re pleased to contribute $50,000 to renovate these basketball courts and enrich the lives of residents of the Old Fourth Ward.”
This is the largest contribution to date for Yo Boulevard!, Councilman Kwanza Hall told the group assembled. He said the Hawks have participated in other successful events, including the Kia Summer Hoops Tour, a free one-day basketball clinic for neighborhood kids this summer, and a neighborhood block party.
“Can you imagine what else they can do over here?” Hall asked.
Central Park is the third busiest in the city, with more than 500 kids taking part in city recreation programs, city officials say. It is also a popular spot for pickup basketball games. More than 100 people a day use the courts throughout the year, said Charles Phillips, director of the Central Park Recreation Center. And in the summer, that number goes up.
Williams said the free basketball clinic that the Hawks participated in was so successful – attracting more than 800 kids – that the team looked for other projects to take on.
“We found that these four basketball courts had become dilapidated and disrepaired,” Williams told Patch. “We thought that this was the perfect opportunity to enrich the lives of the young people in this area in a meaningful way.”
Tim Hollis, who is on the founding committee of Friends of Central and Renaissance Parks, came out for the announcement.
“It’s very good, very positive,” Hollis told Patch. “The park needs a lot of work and this will go a long way in helping that. There’s really no other place that has this many basketball courts in the area,” Hollis said.