By Paul Kurtz
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A North Philadelphia recreation center is breaking in a brand-new basketball court, a gift from an organization that uses sports to improve the community.
The court features a rubberized surface, two backboards, rims, and nets. It’s a makeover that puts a whole new shine on the otherwise deteriorated Heritage Recreation Center, at 15th and Clearfield Streets.
“I like it. It looks better,” said 17-year-old Cornel Wilson. “They’re trying to make our playground look better — I like it.”
Wilson is among the hundreds who run ball at Heritage most nights during the summer.
The new court, which cost about $80,000, comes courtesy of Beyond Sport, an organization that looks at sports in the context of social change.
Founder Nick Keller says he partnered with ESPN to make it happen.
“We’ve been working with the city, and we found a space here which we know is actively used and cared for by the community. What we wanted to do was create something that was going to become a catalyst for further development, and the city is going to work with us over the coming months to make sure some great programming takes place here,” Keller says.
Heritage is just one of a number of locations in the city that the organization has targeted for renewal.