BY YVETTE BROWN
On Monday, Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) alongside the President of the Woodside Tenant’s Association Annie Cotton-Morris and local residents cut the ribbon on the newly renovated $500,000 Woodside Houses basketball court. Following the ribbon cutting, they played an inaugural game.
“The residents of Woodside Houses deserve a modern basketball court and play area, not one that has fallen into disrepair,” said Van Bramer. “Young people in the Woodside Houses deserve safe, modern outdoor spaces, not dilapidated, run-down courts.”
The courts at Woodside Houses were deteriorated and uneven and according to locals, it has put those who play on them at risk of injury. This poses as a safety hazard for community residents as well because Woodside Houses hosts their annual Woodside Classics, where hundreds of sports fans from around the City come to the neighborhood to support the tournament.
“We’ve been working to get repairs for this basketball court since 1985,” said Cotton-Morris. “This is more than just a basketball court—it’s an important axis and gathering place for our community.
In March, Van Bramer and Cotton-Morris broke ground on the courts for the improvement on the court and the play area. The groundbreaking was one of the many efforts that Van Bramer had undertaken to improve the conditions for the New York City Housing Authority residents in his district. He had also provided nearly $6 million to restore the Queensbridge sea wall and park house and $4 million for new lights at Ravenswood.
“This court is an example of what strong collaborations can do to make our communities safer, cleaner, and more connected,” said NYCHA General Manager Michael Kelly. “A vibrant public space like this is an invaluable resource for residents – a place where all can compete and play together, encouraging positivity. NYCHA is proud to welcome residents back to the court just in time for summer.”
Residents were excited for the renovation, explaining how much better they feel now that they can play on the court without worrying about injuries.
“I feel better now that me and my friends can play [basketball] without falling and scraping our knees or worse,” said Dezmond Brown, a community resident who travels to the court to play with his friends.
Another community resident agreed, stating that the courts are easier to play on as well.
“It’s smooth, less cracks and bumps in the court, which is how [many] of my friends get hurt,” said Brendan Jenkins. “One of my friends got their shoelace caught in a crack and twisted his ankle, so he couldn’t play for about two weeks until it healed.”
Parents also felt safer knowing that the children in the community could play on a better surface.
“We sit outside all of the time watching the kids play on the court and for the most part they seem fine, but that’s from what we see sitting out here, the fact remains that our children shouldn’t have to result in playing with poor equipment or on damaged playgrounds, it’s not fair to them,” said Barbara Jenkins.
Reach Yvette Brown at (718)357-7400 ext.128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @eveywrites.