10/14/15

NBA Funds Local Basketball Court to Honor Naismith

Augusta Street Park in Almonte has a new, world-class basketball court. With a grant of US$19,780 from NBA Canada and Bell Canada, and about $9000 from the Hub, Civitan, and Friends of Augusta Street Park, the old court is gone and a new two-net replacement now graces the park.

Much of the credit goes to Jeff Mills, who brokered the deal with the NBA and our rec staff. It is part of the 125th year celebration of the invention of basketball by hometown hero, Dr. James Naismith. Yesterday, I attended a press conference at the Y in Ottawa for the formal announcement that included NBA players and Jim Naismith (grandson of Dr. Naismith).
Jim Naismith (far left and NBA players seated right)
You can read more about the event at the Ottawa Citizen.

Below is the text of the brief speech I made.

"We in Mississippi Mills are proud of Dr. James Naismith. He was born and raised in our community, and began his professional career there. He went on to invent one of the world’s most popular sports, and gave our town eternal bragging rights.

"We are also proud of Sarah Spinks. This young woman’s wish to play basketball on a broken down court in a neglected park became the catalyst for the park’s metamorphosis into an outdoor community hub.

"A big thanks goes to Mills Community Support. This public-focused organization spearheaded the creation of Friends of Augusta Street Park, a partnership with the Town, residents and neighbours.

"Thanks also to two local service groups, the Hub and Civitan Club, for help with landscaping for the court.

"I am grateful to NBA Canada, and their sponsor Bell Canada, for their contribution towards building a new basketball court in the park. It will close the “hoop” in the park revitalization and give Sarah and her friends a world-class court to play on.

"Thank you for choosing Almonte for your “NBA Cares” project this year. Together we built a welcoming public space for people of all ages and abilities. The park’s revival is a testament to the potential when people who care, come together.

"NBA Canada’s contribution to Dr. Naismith’s hometown is a perfect way to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the first game of basketball. You are helping to bring people back to Naismith and the roots of basketball.

"Dr. Naismith once said, “I want to leave the world a better place for having been here.” And you have helped fulfill that goal. Dr. Naismith would have applauded you."

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