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Ludington community partners team up to provide basketball courts for kids

LUDINGTON - A local church and other community partners are pulling together to make sure kids that have just gotten out of school have something positive to do this summer: Basketball hoops were just installed.

The project, facilitated with the help of Ludington police, had people in the community jumping on board to help out.

Ludington Police Captain Mike Haveman said there weren’t any options for kids wanting to play hoops in the area.

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With Ludington area schools consolidating a few years back, the only basketball courts kids have will be taken down soon, since the property was sold.

“Ludington was down to no outdoor basketball courts or places for kids to go and play basketball and have fun outside,” said Haveman.

Haveman said after police reached out to community partners about the need, the project took off, with Emanuel Lutheran Church stepping up to give the courts a home.

Pastor Mike Shriver said the church made their parking lot available when they don’t need it for an event.

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“We were on board immediately. The current basketball hoops that are up were part of an elementary school that was sold for development into housing, which meant the only basketball hoops on this side of town were going to be going away,” said Shriver.

The church is also a designated location for Mason County Schools’ free lunch program for anyone 18 and under.

“If there is an economically depressed area of Ludington, we’re in the middle of it. So, we decided during the lunch program, if there’s something we could do to provide a safe space for them. we’d put on supervision,” said Shriver.

Other community partners donated labor and materials including, Rieth Riley Construction Company and Ludington Paint & Glass.

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“The owner started to almost get emotional and said he grew up playing basketball on the courts. And he was upset that where he grew up, playing basketball and being outside with his friends is kind of disappearing and was more than happy to provide the paint,” said Haveman.

Haveman said they couldn’t have made this happen for the kids if it wasn’t for the generosity of the community.

“The cost alone of this project would have been prohibitive, and we would have had to reach out to, you know, many people and try to gather the funds to make this happen,” said Haveman.

Haveman said the new courts gets the kids outside in a safe space, and also helps strengthen the relationship between police and youth.

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“It provides kids an area for recreation. It also gives a location for us to be able to go and have positive interactions with kids,” said Haveman.

A block party was held earlier in the week for the ribbon cutting.

The new b-ball courts for kids like 11-year-old Nate Martinez are just plain awesome.

“When I first saw the basketball court shoot, I’m like, wow, this is very amazing. This is like the nicest basketball court that I’ve ever seen,” said Martinez.

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