(Cortland Youth Bureau photo)
Cortland Common Council met via Zoom last night for its second January session.
Youth Bureau director John McNerney highlighted a special project soon to break ground at Suggett Park: A complete renovation of its aging basketball courts, helped by a 15k grant from the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation.
McNerney said plans to give the courts a facelift have been ongoing since 2015.
“At some point, I came across the Boeheim Foundation’s Courts for Kids program,” he recounted. “Andrea Piedigrossi and myself then wrote up a grant proposal and I’m happy to finally now say we were successful.”
Some of the upgrades planned include a court resurfacing, new backboards and a unique mural designed by a local artist.
Even more special, its unveiling will be made during a memorial basketball tournament for Eric Prior, a well-known member of the community who passed away unexpectedly from a heart condition in June 2019.
Prior was just 51.
In attendance at last night’s meeting to give more details on the tournament was city police officer Jesse Abbott.
“Our community lost a neighbor, friend, husband, father, mentor and coach in Eric Prior. He was also a police commissioner,” Abbott remarked. “Our current plan is to use proceeds from the registration to start up a scholarship for area youth.”
Abbott said he hopes to be able to hold the tournament sometime this summer.
Immediately after the project was announced, 8th ward Alderman Tom Michales donated $500 of his own to the effort.