New basketball court in village of Waterford brings together generations

August 15, 2019 06:56 PM

Paul Yattaw and his childhood friends, with an assist from his brother Joe's spirit, have brought basketball back to 8th Street in Waterford.

"His mantra in his last few days was 8th Street forever," said Paul.


Joe passed away from cancer three years ago. In his last few days, Paul says Joe seemed to focus on his childhood memories the bulk of which were made at a park on 8th Street.

"That corner we met Paul Proctor who lives in the house right across the street. George and Rich Nolan were the same age as my brother and I," said Paul.

Paul says back in the 60s and 70s the park and the basketball court was their gathering place, with basketball at the heart of it.

"This was the social media back in the day. Everybody, this was the hang out spot and you just congregated with everyone right here," said Paul.

However, the original court disappeared about 20 years ago when the village paved them over to make a parking lot. The basketballs were silenced for decades.

After Joe's death came a rally among friends. The 8th Street Forever movement grew strong.

With the help of the village and the mayor the new basketball became a reality. This week a new regulation-sized court went in complete with glass backboards and a three point line.

On Thursday, Paul was once again shooting hoops but this time with one of his original crew's sons. The court is back to life and Joe's 8th Street Forever has officially been passed on to the next generations.

"He's just always been around helping out in the community and giving back any way that he could, so this is our way to give back to his spirit," said Paul.


Jacquie Slater

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