Former Decker House Space Could Benefit Community
Butler committee discussing possible uses for land, including basketball court, playground.
It has taken Butler Public Schools several years to be able to fund a project to raze the Decker house that sits on school district property, but after the house is removed next week, Superintendent of Schools Mario Cardinale said a joint committee between the school district and Borough of Butler will be determining a purpose for the land it sits on.
At Tuesday's borough council meeting Jonathan Smith, a resident who said he runs a youth basketball league, approached the Butler Council and asked what could be done to have a community basketball court built in the borough.
"There's no basketball court in town," he said. "Right now [the kids] play on the street."
Smith said the kids have used the court at St. Anthony School and other local schools when they are available, but he said that if the borough could make space available, his organization could help raise money to get a basketball court constructed. He asked if a court could be constructed next to one of the fields in the borough.
Borough Administrator James Lampmann responded to Smith.
"The problem is we don't own any of the fields," he said, adding that most of the fields in the borough are owned by the school district.
Lampmann said the joint committee, CACF, which Cardinale said has been in existence for the past three years and is made up of board of education members, principals, buildings and grounds supervisors and community representatives, has been discussing purposes for the property and that one idea is to "expand the student parking section and as part of that, put courts there."
Cardinale confirmed that both of these ideas have been discussed, but that no decision has been reached.
"We're just in a discussion stage about reorienting and reworking the Smith Field layout to take better advantage of the space the Decker house, or the space razing the Decker house, would provide," he said.
Another idea that has been discussed is putting a community playground on the property. If a basketball court is created on the property, Cardinale said it would likely be in the lower parking lot, or student lot, behind the high school.
Council members said they would update Smith on the CACF's discussions. Smith said he is primarily concerned about kids' safety if they are playing in the streets as opposed to a court.
"At least if they have somewhere to go, you know where they are," he said.