Riding on the wish of a local young woman with developmental disabilities, Augusta Street Park in our hometown of Almonte, Ontario, received a much need facelift. Sarah Spinks’ request was a simple one: to play basketball with her friends at the local outdoor basketball court closely situated to her home.
Earlier this month her wish was not only granted but exceeded. NBA Canada and Bell Canada stepped up and provided funding in the form of a US$19,780 grant, through a program spearheaded by Jeff Mills and his community-focused organization, Mills Community Support. In addition to the grant mentioned above, local organizations, The Hub and the Almonte Civitan, pitched in approximately $9,000 collectively to make this local wish a reality.
The unveiling of this project was completed in tandem with the 2015 NBA Canada Series, a slate of four exhibition games played in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal. Naturally, Toronto’s own and NBA Rookie of the Year, Andrew Wiggins headlined the Canadian tour and was in Ottawa to announce the upgrade to the park and to participate in a Fit Clinic at the Taggart Family YMCA-YWCA.
The upgrades to the park were substantial and included a freshly paved and raised surface, as the existing surface was uneven at one end, and was completed with a set of brand-new outdoor basketball gooseneck posts, backboards and rims supplied by Sport Systems. The court was then professionally painted with lines outlining centre court as well as free throw lines and circles and was completed with the NBA Cares logo adorned at centre court.
The contribution by NBA Canada was part of the game’s 125th anniversary and was a perfect fit for the town of Almonte, home of the founder of basketball, Dr. James Naismith. His grandson, Jim took part in the announcement in Ottawa as did the NBA players in attendance, including Wiggins, who announced that they were providing 25 free tickets for children from Almonte to take in the action at Scotiabank Place when the Raptors took on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
We are extremely proud to take part in a revitalization of a park right here in our own community and would like to once again thank all the people who made this dream a reality. We thank NBA Canada, Bell Canada, The Hub, the Almonte Civitan, and Jeff Mills and Mills Community Support for their contribution in seeing this project to fruition.