The vacant land next to Abate Elementary School will one day be the home of lay-ups, three-pointers and maybe even a few local legends.

City Council members will vote today on a cooperative venture with the Niagara Falls School District to trade land easements in the North End, a necessary hurdle to build a new outdoor basketball court on the 4.48 acres of property. In exchange, the school district will receive 1.7 acres of land near the library from the city to install a bus turnaround for Abate students.

No money will change hands in the easement agreement and eventual land swap, which is subject to a public referendum allowing the district to convey property and acquire new land. Still, if all goes as planned, the chunk of land being taken over by the city will eventually become an outdoor court, which is sorely needed not only in the north end but throughout the city.

“Virtually on every street in the city, there’s a kid telling you how much we need a basketball court by playing on a portable basketball net,” said Highland Avenue resident Ken Hamilton, who has lobbied hard for new courts.

Installing outdoor basketball courts is far from a slam dunk in most areas since many feel they attract the wrong kinds of crowds and lead to trouble. However, Mayor Paul Dyster pointed out the land next to Abate is an ideal site because it’s within walking distance of a densely populated area but there’s about a half a block buffer from actual residences.

The site, which is near the corner of 11th Street and Portage Road, had been considered a possible location for an Aldi grocery store two years ago but the discount chain apparently backed off its interest after running into public criticism and problems rezoning the land.

Once the city takes control of the property, Dyster said designs and engineering work will begin to determine the cost and scope of the project. In the past, officials have said plans were to install up to three full-sized courts at the site. The city is already in the process of identifying potential revenue sources.

“We wanted to make this a priority,” Dyster said. “It’s a large site so there’s the potential to establish a pretty substantial facility.”

Hamilton envisions a court that not only caters to the area’s youth but allows them to challenge returning ballers who have gone on and made a name for themselves, like Niagara Falls High School graduate and Syracuse University standout Jonny Flynn.

“Why not have a court that honors our great basketball players of the past,” he said.

Also on today’s council agenda is an agreement with the school district to allow the city to use vacant land next to the old South Junior High School for a recreation area and playground. Officials announced plans for the park last August and Dyster said playground equipment has already been ordered.

The agreement will also allow the city to install a curb cut on the Portage Road side of the property to provide easier access to the parking lot.

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