Deer Isle—If you drive by the old Deer Isle elementary school, you will see a new commercial grade basketball hoop on the side of the driveway. It is the product of several community groups and individuals who wanted to see a quality basketball hoop available to anyone at pretty much any time.
The idea started with the Deer Isle/Sunset Congregational Church across the street proposing to put up a hoop. When it made sense to put it up in a place connected to the town and the park, George Zentz went to the selectmen with the proposal. The selectmen concurred, and directed him to the Deer Isle Playground Committee. This committee matched the seed money from the church and were helped with a significant donation from the Deer Isle Masonic Lodge.
There were many individuals who also contributed money to the project. Russell Brown dug the anchoring hole; Ray Gaspar contributed and poured the concrete for that hole; Selectman Ron Eaton and Zentz assembled and installed the entire pole, backboard, and hoop; Road Commissioner Bert Schmidt prepared the site; and Jeremy Stewart contributed reclaim for a safe area behind the hoop. Two benches are being built for watching or waiting, and a few basketballs will be there soon.
It is truly a gift to the community from the community. It is about building skills and having alternatives and a place to go. The hoop is already getting extended use, and that will only increase. It was not hard to rally support for such a beneficial project, and we are grateful to all who made it possible in one way or another. If you have any questions, call George Zentz at 812-8309.
Having worked alongside the basketball court by the old Stonington elementary school for 30 years, I can attest to the overall value to high school basketball of a town basketball hoop that is always accessible. I’ve seen many budding stars put in time honing their skills and teamwork in the off season. So now I have little doubt that having a community hoop at the old Deer Isle elementary school will also yield valuable help for many young aspiring players, eventually culminating in success at the high school level.