The Banks City Council unanimously approved the allocation of $50,000 to construct prior to June 30 a basketball court in Greenville Park, a project that has been discussed for more than a decade, but not without some contentious consideration among the councilors.
City Manager Jolynn Becker suggested there were three options for building a city park basketball court, and that one of them would keep the construction costs under $50,000, the caveat being it would not include lights, which means no hoops shall be shot after dusk.
“It will be just the court itself,” Becker said. “Everything will be there except for lights — the lighting of the court … We’re going to wait a year to see if we really need it and see what people are looking for but we are setting it up to be able to accept lights.”
Councilor Pete Edison asked Becker what the dimensions would be of the proposed court, and she said 33-feet by 66-feet. That answer resulted in Edison wondering aloud, “Thirty-three by sixty-six …”
And then the collective council’s gloves came off.
“That’s very nice but … the width of the court, 33 feet is not …” Edison started.
“I thought we were going to have three baskets,” Councilor Erica Harold-Heine stated.
“Um, excuse me, I was talking,” Edison said. “Thirty-three feet doesn’t allow you to shoot three-point shots on the side of the court; it’s not wide enough.”
Becker said the city was not looking to build a full-sized court and that based on prior discussions 33×66 is what the city “came up with.” (Reporter’s Note: Regulation-sized High School basketball courts are 84-feet by 50-feet, while NBA courts are 94-feet by 50-feet.)
“When we looked at the size we were looking at 33×66 (and) we got recommendations from the park committee last fall and that was the direction, and then we went through council and that’s kind of the direction. It wasn’t going to be a full, full-sized court. If you guys want us to change it we can go back and get some updated quotes.”
Mayor Stephanie Jones then pointed out that professional basketball games will not be played on the future Greenville City Park court.
“We’re looking at people just out having fun,” she said.
Edison said that’s what a full-court allows for – full-court-sized fun.
“That’s ridiculous, that comment, to be honest with you,” he said. “I thought it was just going to be a half-court, personally. I didn’t realize it was going to be full. But, whatever, I disagree 100 percent with that. You guys do what you want.”
Harold-Heine pointed out that all of the renditions of the proposed court the city council saw had three baskets but the pictures displayed during the May 8 city council meeting only showed two baskets were planned.
“I’m confused,” Harold-Heine said. “What is Pete disputing?”
Edison said he wasn’t disputing anything.
“I’m just saying that that court isn’t full-sized,” he said. “A full-sized basketball court is 50-feet wide and it allows three-point shots from the side of the court and the corner of the court. You look at the three-point line (in the rendition) and it only goes part-way. It doesn’t go down to the baseline, and I mean if you got (people) out there playing real basketball (on a 33×66-sized court), that’s not real basketball. That’s all. And if that’s what we want, that’s fine. If that’s what the committee recommends, that’s fine, but I never intended that to happen.”
A few moments of silence ended when Becker asked if there were any other comments.
Harold-Heine asked for clarification on which committee recommended the non-regulation court. Becker said when the city was looking at costs the parks committee was presented with basketball courts of differing size and considered something more along the lines of a sports court than a regulation B-ball slab.
The city manager reiterated the Parks Committee recommended building a 33×66 sports court for the public to enjoy.
Edison and Harold-Heine agreed that this was the first time they were informed of those plans and the actual proposed size of the court.
“I’m not a sport(s) person,” she said. “I don’t know the size of a standard court like Pete does. So, giving me numbers of a court, I’m going to assume it’s a full-sized court and not know the difference.”
Edison shifted to defense and conceded that basketball still can be played on a 33×66 sports court.
“It’s better than nothing,” he said. “And honestly, I remember a picture of a half-court application with a sports court when we talked about it a while back, maybe last year sometime. I remember it being a half-court setup with a couple of baskets with one basket in the middle and a couple on each end, and it wasn’t full court. I assumed it would be a full-sized half-court. That’s what I was expecting. I did not expect this.
“You know, I’m going to be hung up on this until the end,” Edison continued. “I’ll back off. If this is what people want, that’s fine. It’s better than nothing.”
Jones then noted that if the city goes with a half-court there are going to be issues with the lines on the court.
“I’m curious. Is (33×66) half the size of a regulation court?” she asked.
Edison replied that a half-court contains only one basket and attaining a proper 50-foot width is possible at that size. Jones asked what are the correct dimensions for a half-court and if a regulation one could be built on the land where this court eventually will be built.
Edison said that a regulation half-court would be 48×50. (Reporter’s Note: He was close. NBA professional half-court dimensions are 47×50 feet).
“That allows the full arc of the three-point shot to be put on the floor and there’s room on the sides to shoot,” Edison said.
Harold-Heine then asked what the cost of a 42×50 court (theoretically, half of a full-sized 84×50 concrete slab) would be and Edison pointed out that a 42×50 court is 2,100 square feet and a 33×66 court comes out to 2,178 square feet.
Harold-Heine told Becker she would like to see her research what size a half-court is supposed to be so the council has accurate information separate from what the parks committee approved. Becker said city staff “would have to go back to the sports court people to get that information.”
Jones said whatever happens she wants the construction to include the ability to add lights as needed because when they build it, people will come.
Public Works Director JJ Olson said if lights are installed, which would cost the city about $10,000, the city would have to change the rules regarding Greenville City Park’s operating hours. Currently, the park closes at dusk.
“Can I just clarify because I’ll be the one doing the research?” Olson asked. “It’s looking like we want a full, half-court with three hoops. Is that correct?”
“I think that is the preference,” Harold-Heine said. “I don’t know how much a basketball hoop would cost.”
“It’s $4,000 minimum and we budgeted for two,” Olson said. “So, it’s just going to increase (the cost) by $4,000.”
The council unanimously voted to build a half-court that is a high school regulation-size court of 42×50 feet.
The city also applied for a grant to fund the Greenville City Park project from the Oregon Local Government Grant Program, which funds local government agencies that are obligated by state law to provide public recreation facilities, but its application was not one of the final seven approved projects.
This story originally attributed a quote to Mayor Stephanie Jones; in fact, it should have been attributed to Councilor Harold-Heine. The Post regrets the error.