Kevin O'Neill and Richard Dolce, owners of the John W. Engeman Theater, have joined forces with the Northport High School 1995 Long Island Champion boys basketball team in its effort to refurbish the iconic basketball court in Northport Village’s Cow Harbor Park.
The theater announced last week that the proceeds from all new ticket sales to performances of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” on September 16 and September 17 will be donated toward the project goal of $50,000.
“By working with the Northport basketball team, we are helping children and families have increased access to healthier lifestyles as well as safe, inclusive and innovative play opportunities for years to come,” said O'Neill.
Spearheading the efforts to create an accessible place where kids can discover and nurture a love for the game are Northport Class of 1995 graduates Doug Trani and Chris Wiebke.
“What’s been so inspiring is how many former classmates, who are now parents, have contributed to the initiative. As parents we have a unique perspective on how important sports [are] in building confidence and character,” they said. “Kevin and Rich are parents too, and have seen the benefits of sports on their own kids. They recognize that something as seemingly simple as a basketball court can have a profound impact on young people as they develop.”
The theater has pledged, in addition to the proceeds from the two shows, a $7,000 donation to the over $26,500 already raised through the GoFundMe campaign that the team has set up.
“We could not be more grateful for this show of support to this project,” reads the team’s comment on its GoFundMe page. “This is a humbling display of generosity, and inspiring commitment to our shared vision of what Northport is.”
A Northport Journal article on the basketball court revitalization project can be found here.
Can’t wait until September to show your support? Carl's Candies (50 Main Street in Northport) is holding a crossover candy event tomorrow, August 29 between 11am and 8pm, with 20% of all proceeds going to the Northport Downtown Basketball Court Revitalization project. Just mention “Northport Basketball” when you make your purchase.