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Village basketball court to take shape after $75,000 state grant enables total revitalization

Village by: Joanne Kountourakis, December 24, 2021

Pictured, from left: Chris Wiebke (1995 Northport High School basketball team member), NY State Senator Jim Gaughran, Doug Trani (1995 Northport High School basketball team member), and Northport Village trustee Dave Weber.

Organizers of the Northport Cow Harbor Basketball Court received a big boost from a New York State grant earlier this week, funds that could have kids playing on the new (and drastically improved) basketball court by fall.

At the Tuesday, December 21 Northport Village Board meeting, the Incorporated Village of Northport, in collaboration with New York State Senator James Gaughran, announced the procurement of a $75,000 State and Municipal Facilities (SAM) grant, enabling the Village to begin reconstruction of the court.

Located in Cow Harbor Park on Woodbine Avenue, the community court had fallen into a state of disrepair over the years. This past summer, members of the Northport High School 1995 Long Island Champion Boys Basketball team spearheaded a campaign to revitalize their old stomping ground. On July 6, the team’s starting lineup – Doug Trani, Greg Dunne, Rob Sanicola, Tom Radman, and Chris Wiebke – presented their plan to Village board members; the plan has continued gaining momentum ever since.

A GoFundMe page established in early August with the help of the Eatons Neck Youth Club has raised over $15,000 more than its original goal. “We are incredibly grateful to the 228 donors who have to date contributed over $66,000 to refurbish the Northport Cow Harbor Basketball Court over the last four months,” said Doug, a Northport resident who along with his former teammates have persisted in making the new court a reality. “The NY State and Municipal Facilities grant… assures the ability to construct a beautiful space the community can celebrate. My teammates and I are honored to give back to a community that supported us in our youth.”

Renovation plans include two new commercial-grade tempered glass backboards, state-of-the-art rims and poles, and a completely refinished and repainted surface with court markings. A concept plan shared by Northport Village officials also indicates the incorporation of native plants in the surrounding area, a new 4-foot aluminum fence, and a new paver walkway with a stone seat wall.

The Cow Harbor Park concept plan, as released by Northport Village this past week.

“With the help of NY State Senator Gaughran and his office, this project will be fully funded and will go from a dream on paper to reality for our community,” said Village Trustee Dave Weber.

“I look forward to working with Trustee Weber and the Village Board in making this project a reality,” said Senator Gaughran. “It is my hope that community children will find this an inviting and safe space while enjoying the beautiful surroundings Northport Village parks have to offer.”

When the court is complete, it will be dedicated in honor of John Kennedy, lifelong Northport and East Northport resident, father of four and “personification of the good qualities we would all want our kids to learn from sports,” said members of the 1995 championship team. A youth basketball coach, mentor, and player, John played a vital role in the on-the-court upbringing of the basketball players, dedicating his time not only to basketball, but to charity work around town as well.

Doug and his fellow Northport High School alumni have recently been working with professionals on the design and execution of the new courts. They hope to break ground in spring of 2022 with a goal of kids playing on the court by fall, he said.

It is estimated that the revitalization project, once finalized, will cost approximately $150,000. Community members and project supporters can donate to the basketball court fund here. “We plan to recognize all who have made a donation to the basketball court project,” said Doug; any leftover funds after the project is completed will go toward the ongoing maintenance of the court.