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January 31. 2014 8:13PM

Hampstead to consider hoops near station

HAMPSTEAD — The recreation commission hopes to score some support for a plan to build a new basketball court in town.

The commission is seeking $24,500 from voters this year to put toward the proposal, which calls for the construction of a full court on Veterans Way near the site where the town's new police station is being built.

The property already has tennis courts and a field, which would be relocated to make way for the court.

Commission Chairman Kim Colbert said the commission has spent the last few years looking into the idea of building a court, which would be more accessible to the public than the court inside the Memorial Gymnasium, which requires users to book gym time, and during the summertime is used for children in the town's recreation program.

Colbert said the only other basketball hoops in town are at the schools, but they can't be used when classes are in session.

The court would be funded through tax dollars and fundraising.

Colbert said the project's cost will exceed $30,000 and the commission has already raised a few thousand dollars. Several local clubs have supported the effort, she said.

"We thought ($24,500) was a fair price to ask the town to pay for," Colbert said.

Selectmen voted to support the project while the budget committee voted unanimously against recommending it to voters when they head to the polls on March 11.

The proposed warrant article will be up for debate at the town's deliberative session on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. at the middle school.

Budget committee Chairman Matthew Murphy said there were no written quotes provided when the project was presented at a selectmen's budget hearing.

"It was kind of a plan without a plan," he said.

The budget committee voiced concern about the cost and worried about what would happen if the commission is unable to raise the rest of the money, he said.

"We saw it as a luxury and not a necessity," Murphy said.

Murphy said another reason why he opposed the plan is because he feels its use will be somewhat restricted.

"You'll have an outside court that can only be used in the daytime. It's not in a lit area, so you're going to be able to use it from 7 a.m. to sundown and really only a couple months of the year," he said.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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