Basketball lovers in Santa Ana have a like-new place to play thanks to BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse and a local nonprofit organization.
Through a unique partnership and a labor of love, the public court at Portola Park has been completely renovated and revamped with vibrant colors and an original mural.
The court reopened to the public Tuesday afternoon following an event featuring special speakers, an all-star game and a performance by the Los Angeles Clippers Dunk Team — as well as food provided by BJ’s.
The renovation and rejuvenation was spearheaded by Project Backboard, a nonprofit whose mission “is to renovate public basketball courts and install large scale works of site specific art on the surface in order to strengthen communities.”
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse sponsored the court renovation, which features new blacktops, nets and backboards. Santa Ana is home to the first BJ’s Restaurant.
Heidi Rogers, Senior Vice President of Marketing at BJ’s Restaurants, said the company was excited to give back to the region and local community “by creating an inspiring, inclusive community hub for locals to enjoy for years to come.”
The new court features a “colorful oasis featuring silhouettes of a diverse group of basketball players with pop art-inspired color blocks,” that encourages locals of all ages to be active and take advantage of the refurbished hoops.
Project Blacktop partners with artists across the globe to make original court designs and ensures that no two courts on the planet are the same.
“This particular project is special for us because, similar to BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Project Backboard is based in Orange County,” said Dan Peterson, Founder of Project Backboard. “The inspired design came from a collaboration between Project Backboard, the City of Santa Ana and MediaMonks.”
Santa Ana Mayor Valerie Amezcua praised the partnership that made the refurbishment possible and said the new court will not only function as a resource for recreation, but also as a work of art that improves the beauty of the neighborhood.
For Peterson, helping communities discover and nourish the love for the game is what his organization is all about.
“At Project Backboard, we believe everyone, in all communities, deserves a safe and inviting place to play basketball,” Peterson said.
Portola Park is located at 1700 E. Santa Clara Ave. in Santa Ana. In addition to basketball hoops, the 9-acre park offers picnic areas, a multipurpose field, tennis court and a playground for young kids.