The Marin City Recreation Center is reborn with a refurbished basketball court and upgrades to the lobby, youth room and kitchen.
The revitalization of the Marin City Community Services District Recreation Center is the result of a multi-year effort undertaken during the pandemic between youth nonprofit Play Marin and the Making Hoops program, a partnership between the Warriors Community Foundation, PepsiCo Inc. and the Good Tidings Foundation.
“This is the central location of Marin City. And we already live in an area that seems underserved,” said Paul Austin, CEO and Founder of Play Marin. “The children deserve it. The community deserves it. And more.”
The painting and hardwood refurbishment work was carried out in a staggered process starting in 2020, with contractors carrying out different assignments separately and in accordance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Work in the gymnasium included removing and replacing damaged hardwood, sanding the floor back to its original surface, painting new lines and logos, and applying a new finish. In the lobby, the walls have been repainted and repaired. The youth room received the same treatment, as well as a new carpet.
Then comes the fresco. Bay Area artist The Apexer gathered feedback from Play Marin students before painting a multi-colored basketball scene above court seats. Furniture retailer IKEA has fitted out the kitchen and youth center.
“We’re proud to be the team at the bay, and we’re thrilled that one of the first renovations we’ve been able to do in North Bay can take place in Marin City,” said Evan Schwartz, director of philanthropy. at the Warriors. Community foundation.
“It is clear that the center is a vital community and hub for young people, and the Play Marin team and other hardworking employees are having a profound impact on the lives of these young people,” he said. “We hope we can play a small part in supporting this work with this project and help shine a light on all the great things happening at the center and in the community at large.”
Making Hoops has refurbished more than 85 basketball courts in the Bay Area, Schwartz said.
The groups involved estimated the total value of the refurbishment at around $100,000.
The renovated court was unveiled to the public on April 13, featuring a dedication and basketball clinic by legendary Golden State Warriors player Chris Mullin.
Last week, boys and girls hooped, dribbled, jumped and joked while playing on the renovated hardwood. The recreation center organizes practices and basketball games three days a week for students involved in Play Marin. An adult league uses the field twice a week.
“I think it’s time we actually started playing,” said Shaniya Valentine, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academy.
“It’s like a head start. Like we can keep rebuilding,” she said. “It just means something to me.”
The recreation center opened to the public in 1958, Austin said. Since then it has been the site of weddings, funerals, community gatherings and recreational programs in Marin City. For years, regular maintenance has been neglected. The last floor renovation took place when Austin was 8 years old, he said.
Rain would seep through the ceilings and pool onto the wooden floors. Over the years, the rain has distorted the waves in the wood. Then there were the “dead spots” where a basketball wouldn’t bounce on the floor.
” I am 46 years old. It’s the place that helped lift me up,” Austin said. “Just being able to offer this way of life to children and adults feels good.”
The conversation about a renovation effort began in 2019, when Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Jennifer Azzi acted as an ambassador for Austin’s plan to philanthropic organizations.
Larry Harper of the Good Tidings Foundation said his nonprofit has built or renovated about 200 projects over the past 28 years, but done very little in North Bay. He said touring the area and speaking with Austin educated him on the needs of Marin City.
“A gym is a gathering space. It’s basketball and volleyball. Many of them have a stage at the end for performing arts. It also meets the needs of people who need a helping hand with food,” said Harper. “It’s the largest building in an underserved community and it can be used for so many things.”
The Marin City Community Services District has also purchased a new commercial oven, range hood, kitchen sinks and dishwasher, which will be installed soon. A sheet metal window opens directly onto the courtyard and will allow a full catering service in the future.
Austin added that the benefits of the renovation weren’t just limited to basketball. The recreation center would continue to be a community gathering center in the epilogue of the COVID era, he said. He said the most important conversations took place when young people reached out to their elders in person about their struggles or accomplishments.
“It was super exciting to be able to get over that hump, to be actively in a setting to interact with the kids, that’s something. There are lessons here every day,” he said.
“All those moments,” Austin added, “you can’t take them for granted.”