Commentary: Basketball is fifth fiddle to other Shelton youth sports

I’ve read that the Chromium Process building is vacant as well as the former Spongex building nearby.

The first word out of the aldermen’s mouths are to tear it down and put up a parking lot. Do we really need another parking lot or more apartments downtown? Really?

How about we gut one of the buildings, or tear it down if need be, and put up a nice basketball facility?

We can make it into three full-size basketball courts and have all our Biddy Basketball games and practices played here — girls and boys.

We could have a little eating area where we can serve food as well. Being a Shelton father of two boys who play local AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball, it can be used for tournaments as well.

There is not this type of facility or complex around the whole Valley or Fairfield County area.

Have you ever been to the Newtown Youth Academy or House of Sports in New York? If you love sports or basketball, go see one of these gyms.

Would boost downtown businesses

We could hold AAU tournaments every weekend, six months out of the year. The kids from the 10u to 17u leagues and their families would attract more business downtown than all these apartments combined.

We can rent basketball gym time out to teams. Charge a small fee on weekends to play.

Kids home from college could have a place to play instead of waiting hours to play a game at the community center.

Moms or dads can go to a Biddy Basketball game and get their kid something to eat at the game.

It's basketball's time

Basketball in this town is now fifth fiddle around here. Little League has its own fields, football has its own fields, soccer has its own fields, and lacrosse has its own fields.

How about basketball having its own gym to call home?

Do you know its been 60 years since Shelton last won the state tournament and 40 years since it last went through a regular season undefeated.

The mayor, who I like and who has done a great job in Shelton, is a former Shelton basketball player. I would think he would love this idea, if it is possible.

My two sons are the third generation to play basketball for Shelton. I think it’s time we start putting more time and effort into the basketball sport, like we do the other sports.

Well enough of the dreaming of putting up a parking lot and more apartments. Boy, I hope we fill up all those apartments, because otherwise I would hate to see what goes in that location 20 years from now.

Brian Belade is a Shelton resident and an AAU parent. This article was first published in 2013.