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MAR 31 - APR 07, 2015

Hyde Park Recreation Missing Basketball

By Anna M. Howard

March 31, 2015

A basketball court at a town park shows young men playing the one sport they cannot play at Hyde Park.

Niagara Falls - There are plenty of recreation opportunities in Hyde Park - located in the geographic center of Niagara Falls - the largest city park in New York State outside of Manhattan - but the sport of basketball is not one of those opportunities.

A person can walk, run, and bicycle in Hyde Park.

Tennis, volleyball, baseball, lawn bowling, and bocci are available in the park. Picnicking, and playground activity can be enjoyed in Hyde Park.

And fishing in trout-stocked Hyde Park Lake.

Hyde Park has been a municipal golf course haven for many decades with 27 holes ready for play, if you pay.

And the Hyde Park ice pavilion subleased to an operator where for a fee a person can skate or play hockey.

But no basketball.

The American sport that was invented in Springfield Massachusetts by James Naismith, the world's fastest growing sport, the sport that is played professionally across the globe cannot be played in our city's largest park by children or adults.

The city that had a national high school basketball championship team several years ago, the city with a regularly outstanding high school basketball program - both boys and girls - and the city that has a long and proud collegiate basketball history at Niagara University has not a single basketball rim in its largest, greenest, most publicly accessible municipal park.

Hyde Park has an Olympic size pool


Hyde Park offers kayakers a place to paddle.
With 27 holes of golf, Hyde Park has plenty of green.


On its face this seems impossible but it's basketball for you, Hyde Park.

Well, there's basketball courts at the Legends complex behind the YMCA, right? Yes, but there are no courts in Hyde Park about two miles away.

And that's not an accident because what is unsaid and certainly unexplained is that those courts at Legends are supposed to be, in the eyes of city government, enough to satisfy the basketball demand for the youth of the entire city.

While city government doesn't so much as bat an eye at borrowing $3.1 million for the latest phase in an unending multi-phase ice pavilion renovation project, that same administration has failed to put up so much as a single basketball rim in Hyde Park.

Basketball is the easiest of sports to design for since all that is required is a flat, smooth surface of wood, asphalt or concrete with either one basket for a half court design or two baskets for a full court design. To this you add players ranging from one to ten individuals wearing sports shoes who gather to share the only required piece of official equipment: a basketball.

That basketball can be purchased at Walmart for as little as $10 and that basketball works and bounces just as effectively as an official NBA ball costing 15-times as much. And that's the beauty of the sport of basketball, it doesn't demand extensive, expensive equipment and it can be enjoyed at any age from one to 10 players.

At a time when our youth are growing increasingly unhealthy through poor dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle basketball stands out in its very elemental nature as perhaps the very best sport with which to promote outdoor activity and exercise for our youth: running and jumping joined to teamwork.

There's a reason why the world has latched onto this American sport, there's a reason why the NCAA annual March Madness televised collegiate basketball tournament is even more popular than the Super Bowl in overall viewership and sports fan satisfaction...the running, the jumping, the bouncing ball, the collaborative nature of the game, and the fast pace of the sport translates across all cultures.

While professional basketball was birthed in this country the sport in professional form has spread to South America, Europe, Israel, the Philippines and Australia. Even China has seized the game and is working hard to become a legitimate Olympic basketball competitor.

If this sport, that was invented not so far from Niagara Falls in Springfield Massachusetts, can surge in popularity around the globe then surely this city can put a couple of basketball nets up in historic Hyde Park for our youth and our adults to enjoy.

It's time for the city administration to get moving, it's time to follow the bouncing ball to our greenest and most accessible city park, Hyde Park.


A basketball court at a park brings youth together - which is not al- ways desirable from some people's point of view.



Hyde Park has a spray park for kids to run around and get wet.


Fishing is an option at Hyde Park.






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