OSWEGO — The latest in a series of improvements to Breitbeck Park, Port City officials Thursday unveiled relocated, state-of-the-art outdoor basketball courts in a ceremony dedicating the court to an Oswego man who died tragically last year.
Overlooking Lake Ontario, Breitbeck Park is the city’s flagship public space, serving as the central location for Harborfest and the site of countless weddings, picnics and other events. The Garrett Dunsmoor Memorial Basketball Courts unveiled Thursday are an upgrade from the existing courts, and dozens of local hoops players crowded the court moments after the dedication.
“We’re proud of the project,” Mayor Billy Barlow said Thursday, saying the purpose of the project and others is to help and serve others and “to leave this place better than we found it.”
Barlow said Garrett Dunsmoor, a 22-year-old man who tragically lost his life last summer, embodied that purpose, adding it was “totally appropriate” to name the basketball court after Dunsmoor — an Oswego High School graduate — as it “epitomizes everything he stands for.”
Dunsmoor, who coached youth lacrosse and basketball teams, was “the all-American boy,” Barlow said, and sought to improve the lives of others.
“Projects like this, they improve lives, they help others,” Barlow said. “It’s hard to believe sometimes but the basketball court or the Oswego YMCA, the boxing club at the YMCA, the ice rinks, the fort pool, I see it first hand, sometimes that’s a safe haven for children in this community.”
Garrett’s sister, MacKenzie Dunsmoor, expressed gratitude for all the support the community offered over the past year and to Barlow’s office for “kindly and thoughtfully” choosing to name the courts after her brother.
“The community in Oswego is like no other and we are so lucky to have you all supporting us,” she said, noting the family has many fond memories of Breitbeck, which makes the dedication even more fitting.
Michael Johnson, a resident who pressed Barlow and other city leaders to invest in the Breitbeck courts, called the improved basketball courts part of the ongoing “step-by-step” improvement of the community.
Johnson described the efforts of himself and Steve Williams in pushing for improvements to the basketball courts at Breitbeck, which included lobbying the common councilors and the mayor in recent years, and thanked city officials and workers for pursuing the project.
Barlow commended Johnson, saying he saw a need in the community and the importance of the courts to many children and individuals in the city. The project complemented other recent improvements to the community and Breitbeck, according to the mayor, who said it “made perfect sense with what (the city) is trying to do community wide.”
The city in recent years has sought to improve Breitbeck Park as part of a larger effort to capitalize on the waterfront, and the recently constructed courts are the latest part of that push, which last year brought an updated Harbor Trail with several overlooks.
Future efforts are aimed at linking Breitbeck with the adjacent Wright’s Landing Marina, revamping the staircase that connects the two and adding a fireplace near the top, in addition to constructing a welcome center and installing lighting at the marina.
City officials are also preparing a grant application to construct a two-story pavilion at Breitbeck.
“There’s still more work to do, and we’re not claiming victory yet,” Barlow said Thursday. “But there’s no denying that we’re making gains.”