Valley Gardens Community Centre has some big hoops dreams.
The community centre is planning to begin construction next spring on a $150,000 outdoor basketball court to be located between one of its hockey rinks and the Bertrun E. Glavin School parking lot.
It has already received a sizeable grant towards the project and has begun fundraising to raise the remaining funds needed for the project.
The court will feature a rubberized concrete surface, clear plexiglass backboards and lights to illuminate the playing area.
Basketball convenor Carol Herrera said the court will be an important addition for the community club’s spring teams, as schools within the River East Transcona School Division do not make their gymnasiums available for practices after the end of May. The spring league season operates during May and June.
Herrera said basketball is a growing sport in the community, and a state-of-the-art court will get plenty of use.
"Basketball is definitely growing and it’s even getting younger, starting as young as four years old with the WMBA," said Herrera, who expects to see new recreational leagues pop up as a result of the new court.
The Winnipeg Minor Basketball Association will contribute $50,000 toward the project, making the court the northern hub for its summer three-on-three league.
Valley Gardens publicity director Wayne Elliott said the club still needs to raise $100,000 for the project and is hopeful that much of that total will raised through grant applications.
Elliott said MLAs Matt Wiebe and Erna Braun were in attendance for a planning meeting late last month, and he welcomed the show of support.
"Everybody’s on our side – the school trustees, all the political people have all pledged their support," said Elliott, adding the court will be open to anyone living in the club’s catchment area of about 5,300 homes. "When we won the award for the court, we were happier than pigs. Now comes the building."
Elliott said the centre’s basketball committee currently has a manageable number of volunteers and its main focus right now is to access the necessary funds to complete the project.
Committee members are currently focusing on larger businesses in the area, with Elliott noting there are plans for a display to recognize donors at the court.
"We would put up plaques and markers in this display showing thank-you to, for argument’s sake, a company or an individual," he said. "If the Antrim Road Knitting Bee wants to donate $100, that’s fine.
"We’re after the Barkman Concretes and the Pallisers and the businesses that are around the area to get them to see that this is an important thing."
Individuals looking for more information on the project can visit the community centre’s website at www.valleygardenscc.com.