Renovation of court at Veterans Memorial Park planned by GHS players to honor Josh Davis-Joiner
When Grafton High School basketball player Josh Davis-Joiner died unexpectedly in January, his teammates were among those who felt the loss most deeply.
They were also among those most determined to honor the senior’s memory.
As a tribute, Grafton basketball players Robbie Doring, Jake Wilde and Kevin Collins are spearheading a plan to renovate the basketball court at Veterans Memorial Park on 13th Avenue.
The $30,000 pro-ject calls for installing a new court painted in school colors, acrylic baskets, bleachers, a brick walking path, a bronze memorial sign and a corporate spon-sorship list embedded in a flower bed.
The park court was often used by Davis-Joiner, who spent countless hours there developing his basketball skills, his friends recalled.
“Josh used to live two blocks from the park. He walked down there to play with us,” Doring said.
“He spent a lot of time on that court.”
A project plan — scheduled to be reviewed this week by the village’s Parks and Recreation Board — would be paid for through a variety of fundraising activities, including corporate donations, a buy-a-brick campaign, T-shirt and bracelet sales, car washes, ribbon-cutting festivities and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament.
Initial plans for the brick campaign include acknowledging corporate sponsors at gold ($5,000 or more), silver ($2,500 to $4,999) and bronze ($1,000 to $2,499) levels.
Doring and Wilde said the T-shirt and bracelet sales have already brought in money. A silent auction held Feb. 23 at the Grafton-Port Washington boys’ basketball game brought in $1,600 for the project.
Based on early feedback, Doring and Wilde said they’re confident a fundraising goal of $35,000 to cover the court and other expenses will be met.
“We’ve had a lot of people say they want to contribute,” Wilde said.
Village Parks and Recreation Director John Safstrom praised the project, which he said would be a fitting tribute to Davis-Joiner and a welcome upgrade to a park facility in need of repair. Davis-Joiner was a volunteer in the Parks and Recreation Department’s youth basketball program, he noted.
“I think it’s a worthwhile project,” Safstrom said. “The boys came in and discussed it with me. They’ve already done a lot of planning.”
The paved court is weathered and cracked and the baskets are well-worn, Safstrom noted. Although the baskets were not scheduled to be replaced in 2014, renovation plans could make the court available for use this summer, he said.
A contractor would be hired to install the new court surface and complete other upgrades. Village employees would remove the existing baskets and prepare the site for the walking path.
Doring said he and other organizers discussed the project with Davis-Joiner’s family, who endorsed the idea.
“They thought it was a great way to remember Josh,” he said.
An adult advisory group, including several parents of Grafton basketball players, is helping the students with the project.
The Parks and Recreation Board was scheduled to discuss the plans at its 6 p.m. meeting Wednesday, March 14, at the Municipal Services Facility, 675 N. Green Bay Rd. The project will then be sent to the Village Board for approval.
Wilde and Doring said additional details will be announced in the near future. Any money raised above the project cost will go to the Josh Davis-Joiner Memorial Fund to assist his family, they added.
Davis-Joiner, 17, was a guard/forward on the Grafton varsity boys’ basketball team. He died after collapsing at a practice Jan. 16. An autopsy revealed he had an undiagnosed heart condition.
Image Information: THE RENOVATION OF the basketball court at Veterans Memorial Park is being planned as a tribute to Grafton High School player Josh Davis-Joiner, who died in January. Three of Davis-Joiner’s teammates — Robbie Doring (left), Jake Wilde and Kevin Collins (not shown) — are organizing fundraising efforts for the $30,000 project, which they hope to have completed by this summer. Photo by Sam Arendt