Home court advantage: Sweeney Park’s looking fresh, thanks to $75K Kiwanis grant

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From left, Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, with Kiwanis members Becky Tetrault, Laura Nesmith, Marilyn Charbonneau, Michelle Chretien and Mayor Joyce Craig cut the ceremonial ribbon on the new basketball court at Sweeney Park on the city’s West Side, while Parks & Rec director Don Pinard gets the ribbon-holding assist, along with his grandson, Connell Caswell. Photo/Carol Robidoux

MANCHESTER, NH – Thanks to a $75,000 grant from Kiwanis Club International of Manchester, Sweeney Park’s got game.

Things are changing in Manchester, said city parks director Don Pinard, noting that it is the public/private partnerships like the one initiated by Kiwanis, that are leading the charge.

“Courts are used by people of all ages, race, economic status – it just reaches the whole community,” Pinard said.

Mayor Joyce Craig was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and thanked the Kiwanis Club for their dedication to making city public spaces open and accessible to all.

“Without your partnership and endeavor we wouldn’t be standing here today. Thank you for all you’re doing for the West Side and our entire city to encourage children to be out in fresh air, playing basketball, pickleball, whatever they need to be doing, but being outside together and getting exercise.”

“Honestly, this whole thing came to fruition because Mayor Craig came in to talk to us about public/private partnerships, and our mission is to serve the children of the city,” said Michelle Chretien, past president of Kiwanis. “This was something that we could do.”

There were 14 applicants for the Kiwanis grant. Although it was a difficult decision, Chretien said, the city parks department was chosen because of its potential for having the most positive impact on the greatest number of children.

Over the next three years, the parks division will receive $75,000 designated to renovate eight sites, including basketball, tennis and pickle ball courts and other recreational pockets across the city.

Known as “Operation Update,” this initiative is part of a concentrated effort to renovate all of the city’s outdoor public spaces. The initiative began at the West High School tennis courts which were completed last year with funds from the US Tennis Association. The renovation of Sweeney Park basketball court is the first of the courts to be completed this year.

Renovations at other courts are in progress, while courts being considered for 2019 include Pulaski and Wolfe basketball courts.

About Carol Robidoux 6040 Articles
Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!