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Hastings and the Timberwolves celebrate Pioneer Park court renovation

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Volunteers finish up painting the courts on Tuesday. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 8
A group picture with all the kids and some of the community members on the newly-refurbished Pioneer Park basketball courts. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 8
Volunteers use stencils to get the Timberwolves logo just right. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 8
Young basketball players practice their ball handling during the youth clinic held after the ceremony. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia 5 / 8
The Timberwolves' mascot Crunch signs autographs for his adoring fans. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia6 / 8
Both courts feature a large Minnesota Timberwolves logo at halfcourt. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia7 / 8
Upcoming senior Raider basketball player Isaac Rabaey is the first to attempt to dunk at the renovated courts. He rimmed it out. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia8 / 8

The renovation of the basketball courts at Pioneer Park is complete and Wednesday the Minnesota Timberwolves, along with the City of Hastings, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony honoring the event.

The refurbishment of the courts at Pioneer Park was made possible by the Minnesota Timberwolves' FastBreak Foundation and its Our Courts, Our Future program, in partnership with U.S. Bank. This past spring, the Pioneer Park courts (along with courts in Hibbing, St. Cloud and St. Paul) won an online vote to be renovated by the Timberwolves.

The ceremony was held at 4 p.m. Wednesday in front of about 200 people, including many kids ready to play some basketball. John Thomas, the vice president of community engagement for the Timberwolves, opened up the ceremony talking about the FastBreak Foundation and its Our Courts, Our Future program. He was joined by Timberwolves rookie Keita Bates-Diop (a second-round pick out of Ohio State University), who talked about growing up and playing on courts just like those at Pioneer Park. Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks talked about spending time at Pioneer Park as a boy and its importance to Hastings.

After the ceremony, Bates-Diop and representatives of the Timberwolves ran drills for all the young basketball players in attendance, helped by some of the Hastings Raiders varsity squad. The Timberwolves mascot, Crunch, was on hand for the festivities and signed autographs while Bates-Diop took pictures with many of the fans in the crowd.

Tony Sjogren, the director of programs at Rebuilding Together, Twin Cities (who are contracted to help lead projects such as these), said that most of the work was done by volunteers from the Timberwolves and U.S. Bank. After being delayed due to rain in the forecast, the work took place this week as the courts were resurfaced, resealed and new backboards/rims were installed, along with a brand new paint job.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a RiverTown Multimedia sports reporter covering Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount athletics. He graduated from Drake University with a journalism degree in 2014. 

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