Kids young and old have brand new basketball courts to play on thanks to the city of Oswego.
The courts in Breitbeck Park were dedicated July 18 by Mayor William Barlow Jr. And even though it was a hot, sunny day, scores of people showed up for the event, a number of them with basketballs in hand ready to head out onto the court.
The court was dedicated to the memory of Garrett Dunsmoor, an Oswego High School and St. Lawrence University graduate who died last year in an accidental fall while vacationing in Europe. Dunsmoor was involved in many sports both at Oswego High and St. Lawrence.
Dunsmoor earned the Presidential Scholarship all four years at St. Lawrence and a place on the Liberty League All-Academic Team for lacrosse. He was inducted into the National College Athlete Honors Society for being an outstanding student athlete who excels in the classroom, in their sport, and in the community. Dunsmoor was a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, Male Athletes Against Sexual Violence and SLU Student Government.
In his spare time, Dunsmoor volunteered as a coach for Oswego youth lacrosse and basketball teams. He was also a counselor for the St. Lawrence University Lacrosse Camp.
“Garrett always went out of his way to help others, loved sports and cared for his community,” Barlow said. “These courts symbolize everything Garrett was about and we are proud to dedicate this space in his honor.”
The basketball courts were built by the city Department of Public Works after the city was not able to obtain a grant to pay for the project.
“These courts give our children a great, safe place to play right on our waterfront and add to our many other waterfront revitalization projects,” Barlow said.
Michael Johnson, a long-time Oswego resident, friend of Barlow and basketball player and referee, went to Barlow more than a year ago about the possibility of getting new courts at Breitbeck. The old ones were in sad shape, he told the crowd at the dedication ceremony.
“I’ve played a lot of basketball in my life and I’ve always had a vision for youth sports,” he said. “I went to the mayor and then we met with the Common Council and a year later, the project is done.”
“It’s all about making a difference. It’s all about helping somebody,” he said. “The revitalization of the basketball courts at Breitbeck Park is also a testament to the power of voices within and around our community. I think that’s what we’ve done here with our latest project. We’ve allowed our city’s greatness to shine through by allowing everyday people to push for the positive changes they wanted to see in their local communities on a local scale.”
In addition to the basketball courts, Barlow said other improvements have been made at Breitbeck Park, such as overlooks on the Harbor Trail along the water and a new fire pit and seating area.
Also, Girl Scout Troop 10905 in August will convert the former basketball courts into an interactive play area with a checker board, cornhole game, permanent hopscotch and other fun activities for children to do while visiting Breitbeck Park.
“We are continuing our investment in our parks and public amenities, improving the quality of life, attracting people to our waterfront and providing our youth with modern and safe areas to enjoy,” Barlow said. “The new basketball courts will be a great area for folks of all ages to enjoy, while our extension of harbor trail will directly connect the trail to the park and playground.”
Oswego resident Michael Johnson approached Mayor Barlow and spoke at a Common Council meeting last year advocating for new, updated basketball courts praised the new area saying “the renovations at Breitbeck Park, as a whole, is a testament to our city’s leadership and vision for a more inclusive city.
The Dunsmoor family members said they were honored the new basketball courts were dedicated in Garrett’s memory, especially since he loved spending time in Breitbeck Park as a child.