By SARAH KLEPNER
Basketball hoops said to have been removed after a double shooting in 2007 are back at Red Bank’s Montgomery Terrace apartment complex on the West Side.
The return of the rims was praised by residents, who said the court will give idle youngsters an outlet. Last week, some kids talked about what the change means to them.
“I’m happy they’re back so kids can play here instead of in the parking lot, where people’s cars are,” a boy named Jayron told redbankgreen.
“And it’s good we have a place where we can chill, and hang out, and not argue,” added a girl, Nydasia.
Activist and Red Bank borough council candidate Cindy Burnham spearheaded the restoration after learning, through her job as a substitute teacher at Red Bank Regional High, that they were missing.
“I was talking to the boys about what they’re going to do over the summer,” Burnham said last week. “They told me that they play a lot of basketball. When I asked, ‘Where? Count Basie Fields?’ They said yes, but that they’d rather play closer to home.”
She found a private donor to buy new equipment, and found Tim Killian, a community-minded tree servicer, to do the installation. Burnham herself funded the purchase of signs displaying the hours and rules at the court. The entire project cost about $1,200.
An interpersonal dispute led to gunfire at the publicly subsidized housing complex in the early morning of November 26, 2007, with two brothers ending up shot and a third man fired at. Eatontown resident Anthony Sims later confessed to the shootings and was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2010.
Red Bank Housing Authority executive director Brenda Terry said she is pleased with the new equipment. “It’s very nice,” she said. “and ready to be used.”
More changes are needed, though, said the youngsters. A playground for tots features nothing more than three, immobile plastic creatures two giant plastic turtles and a triceratops surrounded by tall grass.
“They need to fix up over there, so the little kids can come in here and play,” said Nydasia, gesturing to the unused area while a vigorous game of basketball was underway on the court.
Terry said there are no plan to install more equipment at the tot lot at this time.