For a couple of hours last week, Tremonton’s Meadow Park was taken over by the Utah Jazz organization, and hundreds of local Jazz fans, when representatives from the NBA franchise came to town to dedicate a new state-of-the-art basketball court in the community.
More than 200 local residents, many wearing jerseys bearing their favorite Jazz players’ names, came out last Tuesday, June 5, for the dedication of the new court, which was a collaborative project between Tremonton City and Larry H. Miller Charities. Jazz representatives handed out bright yellow T-shirts to fans, who lined the boundaries of the court for a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony before trying out the new facility for themselves.
The new court in Tremonton is the 17th such partnership between the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies and cities throughout northern Utah, but has the distinction of being the first one that isn’t located along the Wasatch Front urban corridor.
“Organizations like the Jazz do what’s best not just for Salt Lake City, but for places like Tremonton as well,” Tremonton Mayor Roger Fridal said during the celebration.
Fridal presented a city plaque to Jay Francis, president of LHM Charities, who was on hand for the dedication.
“We wanted to leave something that will be in this community for a long, long time,” Francis told the crowd. “We want kids to put down their cell phones and get out and play. Who knows, maybe the next Jazz player is going to come from this town.”
The concrete court is covered with a green playing surface featuring the Jazz logo in the center. It has six goals with an adjustable height feature to accommodate players of all ages and sizes.
“Maybe even I can dunk on it,” joked Steve Brown, a long-time Jazz commentator who emceed the event.
After the dedication ceremony, several of the Jazz dancers got the crowd going, followed by members of the Jazz dunk team, who wowed spectators with their high-flying acrobatic tricks and dunks. The Salt Lake City Stars mascot, Buster, was also there to shake hands and take pictures with people.
Following the performances by the dancers and dunk team and an official ribbon cutting, the eager kids in attendance were turned loose to be the first to shoot hoops on their brand-new court, which is free and open to the public.
The court consists of a single, continuous slab of “post-tensioned” concrete, a technique in which steel reinforcing cables are tightened partially through the hardening process to allow for a seamless surface.
“The ball will bounce really well here,” Brown said.
Funding for the project was split between LHM Charities and Tremonton City in a partnership that has been in the works for more than a year.
Steve Starks, president of the Utah Jazz and Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment, said in a prepared statement that the organization is always looking for more communities with which to partner.
“We are Utah’s team and the Jazz are excited to have this opportunity to partner with Tremonton,” Starks said. “The new community court is a place for the public to enjoy and allows us to share our love for the sport of basketball.”
Since 2001, a total of 18 Utah Jazz community courts have been built or funded. A court at the Marshall White Center in Ogden is slated to open in July.