THE people of Smithtown now have their opportunity to shoot hoops safely and enthusiastically with today's official opening of the Smithtown Basketball Court.
The Smithtown Resource and Development Committee have been the driving force behind the court project, forming in late 2017.
"In late 2017, there was an incident that highlighted the need for the community to have a safe place for the kids to more or less play basketball and have a hard surface to play on so with the communities voice we decided to form the committee and start fundraising," President of the committee, Rebecca Box, told the Argus.
In conjunction with Kempsey Shire Council, Mid North Coast Lower Health District, Smithtown Sport and Recreation Club, Smithtown Store and Post Office, State Government and Nestle, the committee started construction earlier last month.
Support from the Smithtown community was staggering with just under a third of the costs covered by the town.
"We had a huge year in 2018 where the community helped us raise over $10,000 in 10 months, so that's quite a lot of money to pull from such a small community, so there support was great," Mrs Box said.
"We applied for four community grants and received two in total with one being the Nestle community grant which was $25,000 and the MNC Lower Health District's healthy communities grant which was $3000."
"With a combination of community support and those two grants we were able to raise the funds to do the court which was a total project cost of $38,000."
Mrs Box added the work of committee secretary, Allyson Hickson, paved the way for the project and ensured its completion after just over three years of perseverance.
"Without Allyson, the project wouldn't have happened, her dedication to the committee has been phenomenal - a lot of this is due to the work Allyson has put in," she explained.
The court isn't only limited to basketball either with a netball ring built in to the outside area of the court, making for a multi-sport complex.
Numerous people who attended the opening commented on constantly seeing kids and teenagers using the courts with various students from Smithtown Public School in attendance. 14 free basketballs were given out to students as part of a raffle draw.
"Every-time I've driven past lately there's always someone here playing - it's not just little kids either, I've seen teenagers and 19 to 20 year olds down here with mates," Mrs Box said.
"It's providing a good space for people to come and gather rather then doing it elsewhere."
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