Utah Jazz, city tip off new outdoor court in Ogden

Wednesday , July 02, 2014 - 4:06 PM

OGDEN — Thanks to a new state-art-the-art facility partially funded by the Utah Jazz, the next John Stockton might be honing his skills in Ogden right now.

The Utah Jazz, Larry H. Miller Charities and Ogden City opened a new basketball court Wednesday at Bonneville Park, 360 Monroe Boulevard. 

Funding for the new court was provided by Larry H. Miller Charities, a nonprofit organization representing the charitable arm of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, and Ogden City.

The cement court is 100 feet long and 70 feet wide and features a special coating that prevents slipping. The court features boundary lines in Jazz colors and a large Jazz logo at center court. It’s enclosed by a 12-foot high fence and has six glass basketball standards, allowing numerous groups to play at the same time.

"I’m planning on staying here all day,“ said 16-year-old Ben Lomond High student Jacob Renda. ”This is the best outdoor court in Ogden.“

Renda and his friend and fellow Scot Eric Martinez said they play basketball nearly every day when the weather permits. But to find a decent outdoor court and some competition, the duo said they would normally have to travel all the way to 40th Street to play on an outdoor court in South Ogden.

"There’s honestly nothing around here,” Renda said. “If I wanted to play, I’d have to get on my bike or ride the bus to 40th Street.”

Martinez said as word of the new facility spreads, the new court will likely be a hotbed for pick-up basketball action.

"Once people see how nice this is, it’s going to be packed,“ he said. ”And that’s pretty awesome.“

Renda said when he first noticed construction beginning on the court he was a little worried, but his unease disappeared once he saw the basketball standards being installed.

"I thought they were putting in tennis courts,” he said. “I was like, ’come on, nobody around here plays tennis.’ I was super excited when I found out it was a basketball court.”

About 90 children from the Northern Utah YMCA attended a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the court. The kids were treated to a high-flying performance by the Utah Jazz Dunk Team and participated in a ”Jazz Fit“ clinic featuring a variety of fitness drills. The Jazz Fit program encourages boys and girls to stay active and live a healthy lifestyle.

Jill Wood, operations director for the YMCA, said the new court will likely be used heavily by her YMCA members.

"A lot of our kids come from right out of this neighborhood, so it’s going to be getting a lot of use,” she said. “This is something that this community really needed.”

Ogden Chief Administrative Officer Mark Johnson agreed with Wood’s assessment that the court fills a need in Ogden.

"It’s something that’s really going to enhance quality of life — especially for our youth,“ he said.

Madeline Crandall, a spokeswoman with Miller Sports Properties, said the new Ogden basketball court marks the 12th built along the Wasatch Front by the Jazz and Larry H. Miller Charities as part of an ongoing commitment to community outreach and health and wellness. 

Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.

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