The Winona Area Basketball Organization (WABO) hopes to renovate the basketball courts at Winona’s Sinclair Park by the end of April. WABO has already raised $12,000 of the $15,000 required for resurfacing the court, painting new lines, installing new hoops and nets, and installing acrylic backboards.
WABO Head Director Troy Johnson said that he and his colleagues first got the idea for the fundraiser while planning a tournament at the East Recreation Center last year. “Sinclair Park is a prime location. It is right on Broadway. Everyone sees it,” Johnson said. He and his colleagues looked at having the tournament there, but “looking at the park, it wasn’t up-to-date.”
The park had old backboards and chain nets, according to Johnson. “We noticed that it needed to be updated, so we came up with the idea and basically just ran with it.”
WABO started fundraising for the renovation last May. Since then, it has received donations from Winona Parks and Recreation, the Morrie Miller Foundation, Winona National Bank, and Merchants Bank and hopes to have the final $3,000 soon.
The park is already popular. “There’s a ton of people who play basketball out there,” Johnson said. “Every time you drive by in the summertime, you see someone shooting hoops.”
However, WABO hopes renovations will draw even more attention to basketball at the park. “With the park updated and not looking like it is not being used, more people will come out and enjoy the area,” Johnson said. “The vision is people out on a Saturday morning just having two or three basketball games, maybe bring a crowd or a few people out just to watch and enjoy the outdoors and the park.”
WABO is a new organization that shares information about basketball in the Winona area—whether its about YMCA leagues, pick-up games, or high school games—and organizes tournaments and camps. WABO hopes to organize a traveling team for local kids someday.
“We’re trying to reach out to the kids,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to have an impact on the area through sportsmanship. What we know best is basketball.”