The new Windham courts are drawing players from “sunup to sundown.” Contributed / Pat Moody

Windham basketballers who were used to waiting for school facilities to become available so they could get playing time now have two newly minted courts at Community Park on Gray Road.

The new courts are creating “the best buzz around town since the fire department escorted Santa to neighborhoods all over Windham,” said Pat Moody, former chairperson of the town’s recreation committee and past president of Windham Youth Basketball.

“People are absolutely loving it,” he said, adding that more than 30 people showed up for the official unveiling last week and games are being played from “sunup to sundown.”

The hoops are “high-end,” the courts are made of a soft rubber compound as opposed to concrete, and the surface has an eye-popping color that no one can miss, Moody said. Court lighting is in the works.

With over 500 participants in the town’s youth basketball program and an adult indoor league in existence for over 40 years, the courts will serve Windham well and hopefully “grow the love of the game,” he said.

“This is a first-class addition to Windham’s community,” said basketball player Luke Chouinard, who helped break in the courts last week. “The faces of the players I saw running up and down the court with me were wearing smiles ear to ear. This is exactly the move that was needed post-COVID.”

Players in Windham also had been using outdoor courts in Gorham and Gray, Moody said, and he hopes the town will return the favor  by inviting basketball clubs in neighboring towns to the park and possibly forming a regional youth league. He’d like to see sponsors build a couple of benches and a kiosk-like enclosure to give hoopsters some shade during breaks.

Moody said he’s also been talking with the high school’s basketball coaches about hosting a kick-off event at the new court.

The courts are part of the Community Park project’s $154,225 second phase, which also includes volleyball courts and stormwater infrastructure. Volleyball nets for the recently installed sand courts should be arriving in the next few weeks, said Director of Parks and Recreation Linda Brooks. Pickleball court lines also have been painted on the new basketball courts.

The renovations at the park, next to the public safety building at 375 Gray Road, have been in the works since 2016, when a wooden skatepark in use for over 20 years reached the end of its lifespan, Brooks said. The original plan focused on rebuilding a concrete skatepark, which was completed in fall 2019, but was expanded to incorporate a number of other uses. The project is being funded through designated impact fees.

The next phase will include a playground and a walking trail, Brooks said. “The more elements there are, the more users there are.”

She called the basketball courts “one of the most exciting aspects” of the overall project.

Included in the former skatepark’s revamp are basketball and volleyball courts accessible from dawn to dusk for all members of the community. Contributed / Pat Moody

 

 

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