A basketball goal stands in Canal Park's main parking lot

Note: This article originally appeared in our February 2024 newsletter. Visit the Newsletter page to easily subscribe to monthly news from Canal Park!

This is a story of the best parts of Canal Park shining in all circumstances, told through basketball.
The donated basketball goal, photo from spring 2023.

Some years ago, an outdoor basketball goal and some basketballs were donated by Kamron Yates, a community member who has also been involved in coaching Delphi’s youth. It was placed along our parking lot, and it has been regularly used by visitors of all ages. Every so often, Kamron would check in and even replace basketballs as needed. We are forever thankful for the many local donors, like Kamron, who have helped make this a special place for all to enjoy. We might not have a big city budget, but the contributions and heart of our neighbors is worth even more.

When offering a public service, you never know what may happen. Late last fall, vandals destroyed the backboard, removing this valuable asset from use. It appeared that large objects were used to shatter the plexiglass.

Looking at replacement costs for a backboard of this size, it seemed that we would simply have to remove the basketball goal. It was sad to think of losing a recreational resource for community members on Delphi’s north side. But this is where the ingenious Monday-Wednesday-Friday Crew, led by Mac Carlisle, jumped into action.

Mac and the team removed the broken plexiglass and measured the backboard’s frame. The crew wondered: Could we just make our own backboard?

Mac and Brice of the M-W-F Crew repair the backboard. Never underestimate the power of volunteers with the right tools!

We try to preserve whatever raw materials we can, and Mac located two old museum panels that were outdated and unused. Braving the cold winter weather, the crew used a heat gun to remove the panel graphics, cut the panels to size, and fasten them to the backboard’s frame. They even painted a square onto the backboard for good measure!

But the crew didn’t stop there. When they were fastening the goal in place, they noticed the base had become corroded and brittle over the years with exposure to the sun. Would it be back to the drawing board? Not with these DIY engineers!

We are happy to report that kids and grownups are back to shooting hoops on warm days! This accessible option for recreation is the result of the best parts of Wabash & Erie Canal Park: community donations, volunteer ingenuity, saving useful materials rather than throwing them away, and turning negative events into something we can celebrate.

If you or someone you know might be interested in joining the Monday-Wednesday-Friday Crew, we are always on the lookout for handy people who love tackling creative projects. Check out our Volunteer page for more information, and get in touch with us!

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