NORWOOD, Ohio — An idea from Norwood students and community advocates turned into a five-year project aimed at keeping young people out of trouble.
City officials worked with ASAP Norwood, an organization that works to prevent substance abuse, to renovate and re-open Waterworks Park Basketball Courts.
Norwood High School sophomore Jazsmin Madden, 15, was one of the students who came up with the idea to renovate the court.
“Bad choices are being made by kids due to peer pressure, and things they see in movies and on TV and online now,” Madden said. “They’re out by themselves getting into these bad things because they don’t have a healthy alternative.”
Now, kids in Norwood have a fully-renovated basketball court to play on. Community advocate Donna Laake said the physical changes are drastic.
“Literally there were cracks in the court with weeds coming out of it,” Laake said. “There were just poles right at the out of bound lines.”
Laake said the basketball court will play a huge role in keeping kids engaged in the game, which will in turn prevent or delay drug and alcohol abuse.
When the project started five years ago, there were no hoops in the city, Laake said.
“There had been some criminal activity, some drug activity, some gang activity, and the administration had decided to take down all the basketball hoops,” Laake said.
The $75,000 project was made possible by donations from the Interact for Health, the city and the Gem of the Highlands 5K.
Madden said she’s proud to be a part of something that will have a lasting impact for years to come.
“When we pass and we’re older and they’re older, they can look back and say, ‘Wow, a group of people just like me helped this come true, and now this is something that I got to grow up with, and now I have a lot of memories,’” Madden said.