Winnipeggers in the Pinkham neighbourhood have a new basketball court.

The city opened the court Monday – located at Sister MacNamara Park on Ross Ave. – on the same plot of land where a community wading pool used to be.

“There’s a huge demand for basketball in this community,” Coun. Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) said. “Gyms are always booked and there aren’t a lot of outdoor courts so this will help fill that need in the community.”

“We’re in a central location close to the Health Sciences Centre, close to Rossbrook House so I think this will be well utilized.”

Pagtakhan says earlier this year, the city consulted the community on what they wanted to see happen with the space after the wading pool was decommissioned. He says basketball was at the top of the list.

In addition to the court, the space includes new benches, lighting and fencing.

Rossbrook House executive director Phil Chiappetta says the neighbourhood is home to a lot of newcomer and Indigenous youth and this new court fills the need for easily accessible recreation.

“A lot of youth love basketball but there are not a lot of places to just pick up and play games,” Chiappetta said. “There are not a lot of places that are this nice, with hoops and the court still in great condition.”

“Those youth face some challenges in terms of living standards and a lot of their families don’t have the money for recreation or the vehicles or resources to take their kids around to things,” Chiappetta continued. “So when you have a good site like this right in the community it’s really helpful.”

Pagtakhan says the city has been focusing on creating recreation spaces where kids can play sports that don’t require a lot of expensive equipment.

“The only thing you need here is a basketball and you can have a game with 20 youth and that’s a huge community builder,” he said. “For tennis you need a racket and a ball, and for soccer you just need a ball and a field and you can have fun with a large group.”

Since June 22, 2018, the city has placed an emphasis on building new and upgrading current recreation facilities. In that time, the city has announced a number of recreation creation and improvement projects that total approximately $2.2 million in funding.

“These outdoor amenities are like the back yards of our city and they improve quality of life, which is such a huge asset,” Pagtakhan said. “When you have places like cricket pitches, basketball and tennis courts, parks and fitness trails, these are all things that help build a strong and thriving city.”

The new court cost the city $130,000.