Basketball courts

City grant brings new basketball courts to Barrie communities

Some Barrie youngsters are hoping the summer conditions will last as long as possible after a new basketball court opened in Barrie this week.

A new pitch was unveiled Friday at the Mill Creek Townhouse complex. Run by Barrie Housing, the new site is one way the organization hopes to create an increased sense of community after the pandemic forced many people in the area to stay away.

“We know we had a lot of kids excited about going out,” says Maryanne Denny-Lusk, CEO of Barrie Housing. “We were hearing a lot of stories from parents saying that the kids were coming in every day to see if it was already done or to see if the sign was up because there was a bit of a delay in getting some materials. .”

The new basketball court sits on the site of what was once a playground for residents of Mill Creek’s 118 townhouses.

“It was very old fashioned, and a lot of our kids and this site are older, and the playground just wasn’t used,” says Denny-Lusk. “But what we noticed was a lot of kids playing basketball on the street or in the parking lots. It was a bit dangerous, and then we had cars that were potentially being hit and people worried, and we so we thought this would be a great opportunity to provide the children with a safe place to go.”

The unveiling of the project has special meaning for Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, who was once president of Barrie Housing.

“Any time you have social housing, it can be difficult to keep it up to modern standards, to make sure there are amenities for the families who live here, so it’s special,” says Lehman. “I think anytime you can do it in a place where you know the kids are going to use it a lot, and maybe they won’t get another chance, that’s really special. .”

The Recreation and Cultural Services grant funded the project, a program launched last year to breathe new life into various locations in the city.

In addition to this basketball court, the funding will also be used to create two more on community housing sites and a soccer field on an existing site.

“It’s just an amenity primarily for the kids that live here,” Lehman says. “But it was made possible through a program in the city of Barrie where we give grants, relatively small amounts of money, to do things like this in neighborhoods and places in the city.”

Longtime Mill Creek resident Chelsea Minogue used to play on the site when it was a playground and is excited to see the changes in the community.

“It’s a long thing to come and a long wait to come,” Minogue says. “It’s going to be really cool, and it’s going to get the kids off the streets!”