New hoops court now open

BREMEN — The outdoor basketball season is winding down, but local hoopsters have a brand new court for when the weather turns nice.
After two months of construction, the Bremen Park Department has opened the sparkling court at Sunnyside Park.
"We've been wanting to get a nice basketball facility down here," Park Department Superintendent Larry Kipfer said. "We had one up on the reservoir, but that thing kind of got bad and was never redone."
Built in 1980, the previous courts sat atop a million-gallon water storage tank. It included a significant incline from one end to the other.
"It was about two feet of slope at least for drainage," Town of Bremen Director of Operations Rich Martin said. "You were constantly running north uphill and south downhill. We ended up taking the goals down and we really missed having a basketball facility here."
The old courts were eventually turned into a skateboard park. Kipfer estimated that it has been 10-15 years since the park had a basketball court.
After Bremen Town Engineer Larry Long planned and set up the site, Mark Milo Enterprises of Knox built the $79,000 regulation-size court. It features two high-quality goals, a soft surface and a high chain-link fence.
"We really wanted to do a top-notch job on this one," Kipfer said. "This was a big one and we wanted to do this right, and hopefully it will draw some summer leagues.
"Leagues here are all volunteer. The Park Department just provides the facilities, so we're hoping this is a build it hope they will come kind of thing."
If interest and use is high, the ground which the new court sits on is ready to have another court added next to it.
"We excavated so that we can set another one right up," Kipfer said. "It's planted with grass right now and we're going to treat it like a yard, but all we'd have to do is blacktop it. They were looking ahead."
The court bulks up Sunnyside Park's already extensive offerings, which include the community pool, six lighted diamonds, eight lighted tennis courts, six lighted horseshoe pits, two sand volleyball courts, four soccer fields, a youth football field, a walking trail, a sledding hill and a mammoth children's playground.
Like everything at Sunnyside Park, as long as the court is respected by its users, it will be open year-round.
"Hopefully we won't have any problems, because we don't like to lock anything if we don't have to," Kipfer said. "This is nice and I really hope it stays nice."