October 21, 2021

Laying the groundwork

Suggett Park work tentatively set for October start

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

Steve Ripley, of the Cortland Department of Public Works, watches Thursday as concrete is poured to set basketball posts at Suggett Park. The pole was set 3 feet deep into concrete. “It’s got to put up with people hanging off it,” Ripley said.

No timeline has been set, but work to renovate and repaint the basketball courts at Suggett Park in Cortland is tentatively scheduled to start in October, city officials said Monday.

The basketball hoops and posts were taken down last week, and new posts were installed, said Nic Dovi, the superintendent for the Cortland Department of Public Works.

The department will prepare the courts for Suit-Kote Corp. to grind and pave them, he said.

That work will probably take place at the beginning to middle of October, when crews from Suit-Kote and the DPW are repaving streets nearby.

The project will refurbish the courts and repaint it with a mural.

Cortland Youth Bureau Director John McNerney said Monday completion of the work to renovate and repaint the courts could either be finished this fall or next spring.

Once the surfaces have been repaved, it could take about six weeks before the courts can have the mural painted as oils in the asphalt have to dry, he said.

Given the state of the courts, McNerney said he was looking forward to the work.

“We’re feeling good about it,” he said. “There’s a lot of excitement going on.”

The mural will be a topographical map of Cortland County with Suggett Park in the center, Andrea Piedigrossi, the recreation supervisor for the Cortland Youth Bureau, said during a July Cortland Common Council meeting. McNerney said the project has met its $40,000 cost through grants and donations.

This includes a $10,000 donation from Bailey Place Insurance and a $15,000 grant from the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation.

Plans call for a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to benefit a scholarship in honor of Eric Prior once all work has been completed, potentially at the grand opening, McNerney said.

Prior, the boys’ football and basketball coach in the Groton Central School District and a coach at Cortland High School, died in 2019 while playing basketball at the YMCA in Cortland.

He was 51 years old, and was to start the next season as an assistant coach at Tompkins Cortland Community College.