Have you looked at an empty lot or unused flat piece of land in your community and thought that it could absolutely be used in a much better way? With the increasing health epidemic that is sweeping first world countries caused by our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, not to mention the decreasing sense of community being caused by our time poor society, wouldn’t it be nice to use those spaces to counter all of this?
This is where basketball come in to play. Utilizing otherwise useless areas in the community to create a social space where kids and adults can come and enjoy a game, watching or playing, with rules that fit NBA regulations, or just get made up on the spot to create a unique community form of the game. http://www.jerseybasketballassociation.com/rules/
A lot of the space available may be council owned, and able to be repurposed for community development, otherwise if privately owned you may be able to negotiate a lease with the owner that allows you to develop and enjoy the space for a set period of years, often at little or no cost. The benefit to the owner is that they enjoy community goodwill, and the space is being used until such time as they can develop it themselves (If you go this route allow for a period that will be the majority of the life of the court to get maximum use).
Sizing the Court
If you’re looking at a regulation court you will need to be able to clear at least 94 feet by 50 feet, plus a little space around the edge, while high school basketball courts are generally a little smaller at around 84 feet by 50 feet. Of course, there is no reason for you to stay strictly within regulations, but it is usually a good idea. However, the main goal is to create a great surface to play ball on.
Building the Court
Outdoor basketball courts are generally made from asphalt paving or concrete. One of the reasons that you will see basketball courts with cracks and weeds is often that the court hasn’t been laid properly from the start. When you are talking to your New Jersey asphalt pavement contractor about their process, they shouldn’t be talking about just laying down blacktop. The first step is not to just ensure that the surface is flat, but also to make sure that it is very well compacted.
Although there are many corners that can be cut, a good asphalt surface will have material that is placed under the top layer, and usually several different layers of differing materials, depending on what drainage and earth is going to be under the court. Each layer must then be well compacted. If you go with a company that will cut corners for you, you will have court that simply won’t last the distance. Even more so if you are building near a busy road or in an industrial area.
Painting the Court
Using non-slip paint is ideal for an outdoor court, and although you can get a range of different materials for the top in a selection of colors, standard blacktop with white paint is likely to be your cheapest option. However, you may be able to use the space for a logo of the company installing in order to get a discount.
Trees provide great shade, but they also may drop leaves which mean that someone will need to clean up before a game can happen. You may think that this is fine, however in a community court simple things like this often become a reason for no one to use the space. Try and look at plantings that will be low mess. Although, fruit vines or trees may be a great option to encourage more families to enjoy the space, with apples, peaches and nectarines growing well in New Jersey (see here). Although these do lose their leaves in winter, so it becomes a balance of which is the more desirable quality.