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March 24, 2000     Cape Gazette
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March 24, 2000

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14 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, March 24 - March 30, 2000 Slam Dunk, Cape envision $20M arena By Jim Cresson Slam Dunk at the Beach founder and president Bobby Ja- cobs has a vision of bringing a $20-million showplace arena to Cape Henlopen High School, and the Cape Henlopen School Dis- trict Board of Education is in- clined to help him achieve it, pro- vided Jacobs can raise the money to build it. "The idea is not new to Jacobs. Back in 1992, after completing the second annual high school in- vitational basketball tournament at Cape, he publicly complained about the limited seating at the high school field house and said he would be glad to help build a bigger, better arena. The offer fell on deaf ears then. But Slam Dunk at the Beach has grown over its 10-year history at Cape, and this year when Jacobs again mentioned the need for more space and a better facility, the current school board was more than willing to listen. In fact, dis- trict superintendent Dr. Andy Brandenberger talked openly about the Slam Dunk plan during public meetings on the proposed new middle schools. In an address before the school board, Feb. 10, Jacobs thanked Cape Henlopen School District for its 10 years of support for what has become the biggest high school invitational basketball tournament in the nation. He also spoke of his idea for the future of the classic event. "What we need to do is build for the future, not for the moment," Jacobs said. "If4his school hoard wants to seriously explore the idea of a multi-use showplace are- na, then I will seriously pursue getting the financial backing for the project. I'm sure it will be no problem; a lot of corporations and foundations would be willing to contribute." As all heads nodded affirma- tively at the school board's table, Jacobs said he would begin gath- ering his thoughts about what type of arena would be needed and would be ready to join a school and community committee to study the issue. "My plan is to build an arena not just for basketball, but for the entire community to use and to be proud of," Jacobs said this week after a month of mulling the idea. "My vision is for a main basket- ball court with a rock maple floor, dressing rooms in each corner, seating for 6,000, sky boxes and box-seating, a state-of-the-art scoreboard, training rooms, laun- dry rooms, showers, saunas, lounges and a media/educational center," he said. "That's just for the main court," Jacobs added, "I'd also want to see a secondary, practice area with four basketball courts on an artifi- cial surface that could be used for school gym classes, indoor soccer, indoor field hockey and also serve as a convention-sized area that would be great for theater and music productions or a general community meeting area. And an Olympic size swimming pool should be located under the prac- tice courts." Jacobs said his vision was "no pipe dream," rather it is a "project goal that would benefit the entire Cape Henlopen School District community and would be the en- vy of every other high school in the nation." He said there would most definitely be private funding and corporate sponsorship for the plan, adding: "We should not be inhibited or held back by any De- partment of Education formula for size. If we're going to do it, we should do it fight." The reaction to Jacobs' vision is cautiously optimistic among those hoard members polled this week. School board president June Tu- ransky said she supports the con- cept. "Phase two of our building plans was originally set for seven years from now," she said. "But we would certainly be willing to speed that timeline up a bit if Mr. Jacobs can gain financial support for his new field house plan; it could be moved up to five years from now." Turansky agreed the current gymnasium is inadequate and could be renovated into some 18 additional classrooms for the high school. "We'd need and want part- nering in the project of building a new arena," she said. "Mr. Jacobs has indicated he's certainly will- ing to explore the issue with us, and we're happy to hear that." Board member Barry Porter al- so agreed that Jacobs' plan is something to consider. "I must emphasize that our focus is al- ways foremost on education and what's good for the kids," he said. "But a stronger partnership with Slam Dunk is a good idea; it brings a lot of people and money into this area each winter. A new multi-use facility would be good for a number of reasons, and I'd like to see something materialize in about three to five years. If any- body can do it, Bobby Jacobs can." Board member Camilla Conlon is another strong supporter of the Iacobs vision. "It sounds great to me," she said. "Of course, there's a lot of study and planning to do, but I think we can work on that in the near future. "And if we decide we can build this multi-use arena, I'd like to see it located across Kings Highway from the high school, if we can get the land." Brandenberger said in lebruary be would be willing to begin the arena studies "sometime after we get the middle schools built" in 2003. Michael Short photo Hundreds turn out to plant beach grass along coast Mary Broome (left) of Newark and June Armstrong of Delaware City plant beach grass near the Lewes Yacht Club on Saturday, March 18. Lewes Beach was one of many sites along the Delaware coast which were planted with beach grass, which has become an annual rite of spring near the water's edge. The beach grass planting, formerly called the "Planting of the Green" because it takes place every March, helps to protect beaches. It does so because the plant roots placed by thousands of volunteers each spring help hold sand in place and prevent erosion. UD land Continued from page 10 L.L.C. has a contract to purchase the nearly 190 acres that comprise the remainder of the one time re- search park. They are also seek- ing a zoning change but are in a holding pattern now while Lewes decides how to proceed with their request. Schroeder said representatives of University of Delaware, Beebe Medical Center, New Road L.L.C., Cadbury and the Townsend family have all been invited to the March 30 meeting. Members of the Townsend family have been invited because they own a contiguous piece of ground north and west of the Beebe and New Road L.L.C. lands. "We want to explore whether anyone is interested in having their land individually or collec- tively purchased through the state's open space program," said Schroeder this week. "If anyone is interested, we would begin the process of letting the Open Space Council know of the interest." Ennis owns a home in the Har- hor View development adjacent to the University of Delaware lands. A number of residents of that area have protested the University's sale of the lands for development saying the proposed uses allow for too much density and that the land isn't suitable for the proposed uses. As for the Cadbury propos- al, more than 150 people - half of them Lewes-area residents - have signed up for the continuing care retirement community and have been actively supporting the town's approval of that project. North Shores Beach... Fourth lot from the ocean, size 100x150, three bedrooms, two baths, large screened porch, large deck, outside shower, carport. Remodel or build your dream beach home.Not affected by building moratorium. Just listed at $599,900. Call Michael Real for a private showing. Remax Realty Group 317 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach, DE. 19971 RFAL ESTA00!00 302-227-8500:i;:i