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Princeton YMCA breaks ground on new basketball court

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(l to r) Princeton University Women’s Basketball Coach Carla Berube, YMCA Board of Directors Chair Merilyn Rovira, NBA Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum, Princeton University Men’s Basketball Coach Mitch Henderson, YMCA Princeton CEO Kate Bech, and YMCA First Vice Chair PJ Jayachandran.

PRINCETON – The Princeton Family YMCA has broken ground for the construction of a new outdoor basketball court on its field along Paul Robeson Place. 

As a result of a $300,000 anonymous donation, the organization will build a state-of-the-art court featuring a surface that provides some of the best safety and performance available, representatives said. The high-school-regulation-sized court will include six baskets to accommodate multiple uses, types of play, coaching and teaching, and will have fencing around it.  The playground area will also be upgraded with a new play surface. 

Professional and college basketball leaders joined the YMCA officials to kick off the construction, including Mark Tatum, deputy director and chief operating officer of the National Basketball Association, who expressed his excitement about the new addition.

“Dr. James Naismith invented the game of basketball at a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts with a goal of using it to teach important life lessons of team work, respect and valuing hard work to young people,” Tatum said. “It’s wonderful that the Princeton Family YMCA – my local Y where I coached and my kids played – will have this beautiful new court to benefit the youth in this community and will carry on this tradition of using the game as a teaching tool.” 

Also on hand were the Head Coaches of the Princeton University men’s and women’s basketball teams, Mitch Henderson and Carla Berube. 

“This is so awesome. I know it’s going to open the doors for a lot of kids here it town,”  Berube said of the project.

“I learned to play the game of basketball on a court that’s a lot like this one, and I feel so fortunate to live in a town and to be a part of a community that celebrates its youth development and healthy living the way the Y does here in Princeton.  This is a really special opportunity and I’m thrilled about it,” Henderson said.

Merilyn Rovira, the head of the YMCA board of directors, expressed the organization’s gratitude for the donation that made the project possible. “The donors have a passion for basketball and wanted to share their love of the game with the larger Princeton community,” she said. “We are deeply grateful to them, and to our other friends who joined us for this Groundbreaking gathering.”

A ribbon cutting and community celebration will be held on Sunday, Oct. 20, followed by a performance of the Trenton Circus Squad.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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