Youth basketball could return to JFK Playground courts in New Kensington
Youth basketball could return to the JFK Playground courts behind New Kensington's city hall this summer.
Alex Novickoff, a basketball coach and teacher at New Kensington-Arnold School District, recently told New Kensington Council he is working with the Valley Points Family YMCA to bring back a youth league.
Novickoff said he played and coached in the Gosby “Goose” Pryor summer league that filled the courts with children every summer for about 16 years.
Since the Pryor league has been inactive for a few years, Novickoff said the school district's basketball program would benefit from a community league that develops skills and interest in younger students.
To that aim, he and Jason Halfhill, the YMCA's director of healthy living, approached city officials about starting a new league and using the playground's basketball courts.
Plans are preliminary, but they hope to start this summer with fourth- and fifth-graders.
They would have girls teams and boys teams.
If the first season goes well, Novickoff said they could expand the age groups and number of students involved as long is there is interest.
“We want to keep it a community event,” he said.
Halfhill said the YMCA will be the league's sponsor, but he is looking for volunteers to help run the program.
He said it's too soon to have children sign up to participate.
“It's going to happen,” Halfhill said. “We have the framework in place. We just need to get the loose ends tied up.”
He and Novickoff hope to finish working out the details in the upcoming weeks and then will begin to advertise for participants.
Novickoff estimated the league might run for four to six weeks with games in the early evenings.
Novickoff said he'd like to find official referees so the children get accustomed to playing by the rules of a formal game.
New Kensington Council members were supportive, although they noted a few issues that came up during the latter years of the Pryor league would need to be addressed.
Those concerns included people wandering unsupervised through city hall, cleanup of the facilities and parking not interfering with police cars and visitors of the UPMC medical facility.
Councilman Doug Aftanas said he is pleased to see the partnership developing and including the city's parklet.
Councilman John Regoli noted it would good to have an organized group use the playground again. JFK Playground was the focus of an improvement effort in recent years that was spearheaded by city resident Will Varner.
“We're excited to be working on this with the city to get it up and going,” Halfhill said. “We think it will be really good for the kids in the community.”
Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Harrison rejects criticism of disorderly conduct ordinance
- Labor United Celebration draws 25,000 to Northmoreland Park
- Apollo Council, solicitor prepare vacancy ordinance
- Drownings surge in Pennsylvania over past 2 years
- 3 wrecks Saturday keep emergency responders busy
- Suspended Gilpin police officers to have their say
- Burrell, psychologist settle lawsuit
- Burglaries in Oakmont similar to break-ins in other communities
- ‘He’s still a part of this team’: Burrell honors player who died during preseason
- End in sight for Route 28 construction
- Deer Lakes releases info on administrators’ raises