Former Decker House Space Could Benefit Community

Butler committee discussing possible uses for land, including basketball court, playground.

It has taken several years to be able 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 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 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

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.

Danielle Konopinski May 17, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Basketball courts would be a fantastic idea at that site for the youth of Butler. Currently our children have no parks or ball fields they can play on. Since the playground and basketball courts were removed prior to the renovation of the football field and track there is not a place within the Borough for our kids to go. The playground on Western is great if your children are still small. It would be nice for the children to have someplace in town to go. Having grown up in Nutley with a park system filled with open space, basketball courts, ball fields, bicycle paths and playgrounds it would be something wonderful to give to the youth of our community.
mimi May 19, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Butler definitely needs to consider installing basketball courts in this location! The terrain in certain areas as well as traffic, poses such a problem for Butler's youth to play a pick up game. I for one, get tired of driving my son over to Bloomingdale day after day to play hoops on a sunny afternoon. I can't understand why the courts were completely removed when the field was re-done! It would give the kids something better to do then hanging out by Dunkin and having the Butler PD responding every day to ask them to leave!
Ursula July 23, 2012 at 05:04 PM
I'm from Florida and was visiting my family this summer in Kinnelon. I drove around the Kinnelon and Butler and Pompton area schools and parks for about an hour with my husband and my 11 year old son trying to find some hoops so that they could play a game of basketball. I couldn't believe there weren't any so we asked two youths and a Butler cop along the way and they also didn't have any idea of any hoops in the area! So sad! What the heck to all of your ridiculous tax dollars go towards?


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