Thorsby church to renovate nearby basketball court

Published 1:31 pm Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The basketball court next to the old Thorsby school and one of the town's softball fields has sat unused and deteriorating.

The basketball court next to the old Thorsby school and one of the town’s softball fields has sat unused and deteriorating.

Pastor Marc Hodges wants his First Baptist Church to show the Thorsby community how much it cares.

One avenue for this goal is the renovation of a basketball court next to the old Thorsby School–and not far from the church.

The court at times has been a hub of activity in the community, as children living nearby had a spot to congregate.

But the court has fallen into neglect: the basketball goals, tennis nets and benches are long gone; the concrete surface is being overrun with grass; and the chain link fence has rusted.

So, Hodges and other church officials approached Thorsby Mayor Jean Nelson and the Town Council about renovating the town-owned property.

Town officials were receptive to the idea and even asked if the church would want to maintain a lock on the court and take the responsibility of opening and closing the area, but declined.

“We’d really like to do this for the community,” Hodges said. “We don’t want this to be the church’s court.”

There are two stages planned for the work. The first is to simply clean up, removing the grass, fixing the fence, putting up some new goals, replacing the benches, building a trench down one side of the area to keep rainwater from washing dirt onto the court and beautifying the outside of the area with flowers.

The second stage is the installation of of two batting cages that could be used by the Thorsby varsity softball team, which competes at a town-owned field on one side of the basketball court.

Hodges said organizers have the cost of the first stage (about $1,500) covered, with some help from others, such as Chilton Contractors helping clear the court of debris.

The installation of the batting cages will be much more expensive. Hodges said it could cost about $5,000.

Organizers are still raising money for this stage of the project.

Thorsby First Baptist Church officials planned other projects. This past weekend, a church member helped cut a walking trail around the Sutlive property, a historic homeplace that was donated to the school system and is being used by Thorsby’s agri-business department.

Also, the church is helping with a garden that is maintained next to the Thorsby elementary gymnasium.

“This is just the first step in some projects we’d like to do around town,” Hodges said. “We want to show the community that we’re here, that we love them and we want to be a part of the community.

“We don’t want to just talk about it; we want to do it.”