HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Henrico has created a new, safe space for people to gather and play basketball.
The county unveiled new basketball courts on Thursday that feature LED lighting, plexiglass backboards and bleacher seating for fans.
They're located at Fairfield Middle School, and are open to the community after school hours.
The idea of the courts is to bring the community together and create a safe haven for people to shoot some hoops.
Many Henrico residents, like Mashanda Thomas, have already noticed the impact these courts are having.
“I mean, look at all these groups of guys out here not getting into any trouble. Just exercising, physically just for social, emotional support. I think it’s great,” Thomas said.
Thomas and many others remember a time when this space was just a big plot of land.
“All of this used to be grass,” Thomas said.
Others, like Bruce Richardson with the Police Athletic League, have already taken advantage of the new space and appreciate what it does for the community.
“It was just black asphalt and now you see what’s become of this,” Richardson said. “I think it’s great for the young guys, the opportunity for our youth to be engaged."
“We want this to be a place where young people can get off the street and have somewhere to go after school, and love to take care and protect each other when we’re here,” Nelson said.
The courts are the same dimensions as NBA, WNBA and NCAA regulation courts, allowing Henrico residents to get the full experience.