HENRICO, Virginia (WWBT) – The Henrico community in Fairfield is gaining momentum with the completion of a modern basketball court near Fairfield Middle School.
Henrico County leaders and Parks & Recreation dedicated the new court by cutting the ribbon on Thursday afternoon. The $ 600,000 project is the brainchild of Fairfield County Superintendent Tyrone Nelson.
“The sky is the limit when you make the kind of investment we make here,” Nelson said. “We just don’t have that in East Henrico.”
Before construction began last August, there was only a small concrete volleyball slab without a net. There are now four acrylic red and blue courts built to college, WNBA and NBA standards. The courts also have LED lighting to illuminate the entire space.
“Appearance is important, architecture matters. We want things to look good, ”said Parks & Rec director Patrick Nally.
He says that many of the finishing touches, such as the nets, were added in the morning of the consecration, and the paint and stands were completed less than a week ago.
“We have to put up some signs and we will probably put up more stands,” said Nali. “We just wanted to open it, get the kids to play on it, and we’ll find out the other details later.”
The court is just one of the county’s latest outdoor projects. Nelson says the county has just completed construction of a new $ 4 million baseball facility in Dorey Park. Plans are also underway for a new family park known as Taylor Park. Nelson thought the basketball courts would be perfect for the Fairfield neighborhood.
Nelson says several community leagues play in the Fairfield Middle School gym. He now believes they will be able to expand with the number of outdoor courts and possibly attract other community leagues from different localities.
“It also helps our young people see that we can have good things here in Henrico. This is on top! ” said Nelson. “I would put this place against any other open place in our region. I want this to be a place where you can play really good outdoor basketball. ”
Although the courts are officially open for play, he says it could be several more weeks before all the amenities are completed.
Nelson says the entire project took almost two years of planning, from concept to completion.
Even with the rain, the community doesn’t waste time breaking nets. Not long after, 3-on-3 games broke out between the Henrico County Police Department and the fire department. There were also several children and teenagers who practiced hitting one of the many goals.
Nelson says he wants the court to be a place where young people can feel proud to play and feel safe. Like so many communities, this one is not spared violence. According to Henrico police, of the 13 murders in Henrico so far in 2022, three minors have also been killed by gun violence, including two basketball stars at Highlands Springs and Henrico High Schools.
“We hope this will help build a relationship,” Nelson said. “I’m sure Jahiem Dickerson and Diamond Brown will be here to play on the court this summer, and I hope their friends and their community will find some comfort in coming here and playing the game they love.
Plans are underway to launch youth community leagues and adult leagues next summer. Until Parks & Rec establishes official business hours, people can use the court until the lights go out at 10 p.m.
“We want to program as much as possible, but we also want it to be open where kids can come and play ball – play all day if they want to,” Nelson said. “It’s to get them out of the house and out of the streets.”
Until 7 pm on Thursday, all four vessels are used by people in the community.
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