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Group says it has funds for outdoor basketball courts

Work on project slated to begin either this fall or the spring of 2022

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Aug 8, 2021

Katie Alford, left, and Brenda Smith, right, informed BEA School Board members enough funds had been raised to replace the old basketball courts at the elementary school.

There was some big news at the Blue Earth Area School Board meeting last Monday night.

There will be some new basketball courts created in Blue Earth. They will be installed where there are currently some old basketball hoops on the west side of the BEA Elementary School.

“The good news is that we have raised enough money to cover the cost of the new courts,” Brenda Smith, a member of the Blue Earth Area Basketball Boosters Association told the board members. “The cost of the courts is going to be $41,000, and our fundraising efforts have been successful and we have the money for the project.”

Much of the funding came from donations from businesses and families in the community. In fact, nearly $19,000 in donations were private gifts.

Other monies came from groups such as the Eagles and Sertoma Clubs. The Huisman Family Fund also gave a gift of $5,000 and the group is hoping for a $10,000 grant from Southern Minnesota Initiative Fund.

Construction is expected to begin next spring, although it could begin yet later this fall.

Some of the funds came from a recent 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament which was held during the Giant Days weekend.

“We came up with this idea as a fundraiser,” Katie Alford, another member of the BEA Basketball Association told the board. “We got sponsorships for the event.”

Alford said she is a 2008 BEA alumnus and a seventh grade girls basketball coach and a mom.

“These courts will not just be for the school, but for the whole community,” Alford said.

The plan is for four hoops on two sides of a long court and the surface will be a rubberized material over a blacktop surface and will be installed by Nielsen Blacktopping.

“That is the company where Joe Franta works,” Smith said. “It will be an overlay on the current surface. It will not be black, but another color, like blue.”

She said the current condition of the area at this time is so bad that she will not let her students be on it.

“It is in really bad shape,” she says. “It has a lot of dangerous issues.”

The group is also working with Faribault County EDA specialist Annie Nichols and Blue Earth EDA specialist Amy Schaeffer about applying for a grant of $10,000 to install lights at the new basketball courts.

“Someone mentioned we should have lights and we thought that was a great idea,” Smith says. “It would be a great safety and security feature.”

The county and the city of Blue Earth are receiving some additional COVID related funds and the BEA Basketball Boosters hope to be able to receive some of those funds to help pay for the lighting at the courts and elementary playground.

“The lights would be a Phase 2,” Smith said. “We will work on the courts themselves first.”

All of the funds will come in to the school district – specifically Community Ed – Smith explained, and the bills paid out by the district. However, it will just be a wash, with no expense to the school district, she added.