By CASEY CROUCHER
Recorder News Staff
After the Amsterdam Common Council prohibited basketball hoops or any type of basketball game on city streets last month, Centro Civico officials have been actively seeking another solution for children.
"I'm looking to get a basketball court in the back of the Centro Civico building," Centro Civico Community Development Initiative Director Fabrizia Rodriguez said.
The building, located at 143 E. Main St., has an open lot that's roughly the size of a basketball court. Rodriguez said she'd like to have a court in that open space so children on the east side of the city would have a court to play on.
"Kids on this side of the city don't have any nearby parks to go to," she said. "This would be an option."
However, in order for Centro Civico to have a court they would need the funds to create it.
Rodriguez said she had the lot quoted for paving, and it will cost roughly $8,000.
The lot would also require approximately 250 feet of 8-foot fencing, costing $2,000.
She said the court would have roll-away hoops from children who can no longer use theirs due to the street basketball ban. They would be placed on each end of the court so that games could be played.
Dr. Govind C. Rao, of the Neena Rao Medical Center on Front Street, made a $7,000 donation toward the Centro Civico basketball court project.
"The reason I donated is very simple," Rao said, "Amsterdam has nice, wonderful children and studies show that sports help keep them off the streets -- that should be our priority."
Rao said organizers at Centro Civico approached him and told him about the project, and he encouraged the idea.
"I knew the common council had created a law that basketball was prohibited on the streets," he said. "So I reminded them that there's a dilapidated house on every street and there should be a park on each block. These kids need exercise, they need to be active."
Rao said he thinks Centro Civico will effectively use the donation he sent them.
Rodriguez said she immensely appreciates Rao's donation; however, she's still roughly $4,000 short after labor and supplies are totaled.
"This money will go for a great cause," she said. "If anyone wants to help in any way it would be appreciated. If people don't want the kids in the streets, the kids will be able to play here, at a clean, safe area."
Alexis Bottomley, one of the city's recreational basketball players, said it would be "awesome" having a court on the east side.
"This side of the city doesn't have a court," Bottomley said, "this would be cool because I have a lot of friends over here who play and we could meet up."
Rodriguez said the court would also be safer than the city's parks because there's Centro Civico staff in the building some nights until 8 p.m., and a school bus stops at Centro Civico during the school year.
"I just think this is a smart decision and I'd like people to jump on board," she said. "Any help or donation we can get is appreciated."
Contact Casey Croucher at firstname.lastname@example.org