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Boeheim Foundation to restore Utica basketball courts

By RACHEL MURPHY

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) --Old chipped paint, rusty fences and cracked cement surround several Utica basketball courts. But soon a few of those parks will be revamped, with the help of Syracuse Men's Basketball coach Jim Boeheim.

Boeheim joined Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri, along with city officials, and members of Utica Youth Bureau for the announcement Monday morning.

Boehiem says he plans to provide the funds to upgrade and renovate two basketball courts in Utica. The project is a part of the Jim and Juli Boehiem Foundation and the Carmelo Anthony Foundation. Both Palmieri and a local lawyer, John Petrone, of the Petrone & Petrone Attorneys at Law, brought the courts to Boehiem's attention. Petrone is also on law school board of directors at Syracuse University.

Boehiem says he wanted to provide support to the Utica area, as a way to give back to local youth and SU fans.

"You cant draw 30,000 people just from Syracuse," he said, surrounded by teens snapping pictures of the coach. "We get people from Utica, Rochester, Buffalo all over. I think it's important to give back to our fan base in this area."

Both the Horatio Seymour Park and Quinn Park will receive the repairs. Utica is the first location that Boeheim will provide funds for court restoration. He plans to improve more courts throughout the Upstate New York area.

"It's good to go some place where the courts are really in need of some work, get some new baskets, and get the courts straightened out," Boehiem said. "We're happy to be here."

The local courts will be assessed in the next coming months, and the upgrades are set to begin in the spring of 2015.

Although one of the teens who attended is a fan of Duke Basketball,18-year-old Jaclyn Hajec, says this project shows a different side of the SU coach.

"It's humbling to know that such a great man is rooted here, and comes here, and gives us this great opportunity to make something better than what we have."

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