The days of turning a Maraenui shopping centre car park into a basketball court, when it wasn’t being used by shoppers, are now history with the opening of a new outdoors court in the hub of the Napier community.
The court was opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Napier City Council represented by councillor Maxine Boag, who as a Nelson Park Ward member represents the area.
The council says the idea was a community initiative which the council “ran with” after an approach from community advocate Barbara Abbott.
A temporary half-court installed earlier this year proved so popular that it has become a permanent feature, with Boag saying some of the best ideas come from council and community working together.
“Play is about much more than having a playground available for the kids,” she says. “People of all ages should have the opportunity to be active.”
A councillor since 2007, she’s seen a variety of council activity in the area, between Bledisloe Rd and Longfellow Ave, including development of a stage, the more recent installation of a splash pad, free BBGs, a playground, and skatebowl, upgrading of toilets and the old Plunket Rooms, changes to roading, reconfiguration of the car park and the development of big-picture initiative Te Pihinga – a community centre of the future.
Seating will also be added to the reserve, and further landscaping will finish complete the beautification of the area.
Basketball courts, of sorts, have been part of the area for many years, with at one stage fixtures established for basketball hoops and holiday times and late-after 3-on-3 competitions.
The latest improvements were opened on Wednesday, with several Hawks national basketball league players on hand, along with the children using the court.
Basketball half courts have featured in other recent council improvements to Petane, Essex St (Tamatea) and Roberts Tce (Onekawa) recreational reserves.