Teens win grant to fix Palmer Park Recreation Center basketball court

By Tony Wittkowski | Local Government Reporter | The Times Herald

Five Port Huron Northern seniors took a shot and scored for the Palmer Park Recreation Center.

Thanks to their efforts, the city of Port Huron is getting $10,000 to refurbish the center’s basketball court.

The students — Hunter Austin, Delaney Barr, McKenna Currah, Owen Jones and Nate Wilson — attended the Metropolitan Youth Policy Summit last fall in Detroit. There, they learned how to write a grant application.

They learned well.

Not only did they win the $5,000 Youth Voice Grant from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan that they applied for, but they also won a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of St. Clair County’s youth advisory council.

“The experience was great. The most surprising part was that we got it,” Jones said. “When we went to the youth summit there were probably close to 20 groups. Now kids are going to have a safe place to play some basketball.”

Jones, lives in Fort Gratiot and coaches kids sports at the rec center during the summer.

He said the basketball court has only one hoop, hardly any net and pavement cracks that children trip over.

Whitney Currah, coordinator for the recreation center at 2829 Armour St., Port Huron, said it wasn’t just the students who learned how to produce grant language.

“This is the first time I have been a part of the grant-writing process,” Currah said.

“It was fun to watch what they had to go through to get it,” she said. “They wrote it all up, made a video and sent the grant application and the video to the YAC. They received another $5,000 grant in the process.”

Nancy Winzer, Port Huron Parks and Recreation Department director, said the city expects construction to begin in early summer. In addition to resurfacing the court and adding more hoops, Winzer said it plans to enlarge the court.

The grant will be introduced to Port Huron city council for approval Monday.

While the project has not gone out to bid yet, Winzer believes the updated basketball court will make a great addition to the community.

“It was a slab of cement with a net,” Winzer said. “This one will have lines and be regulation size. It’s great they want the best for their community. They took their own time to do this and you don’t see that every day.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on March 4, 2015)

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