New courts open in Springfield

Zierfus’ wish granted
Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 12:14 AM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Vt. (WCAX) - Back in May, we introduced you to Noah Zierfus, a Springfield native and Cancer survivor who used his Make a Wish to give back to his community. This week, he got to see the finished product.

“It’s amazing what the transformation really is,” said Zierfus of the courts.” Because even with just putting the hoops in, it really made a big difference when we were playing. Now with the court being finished, it’s definitely a big benefit.”

The new basketball courts at Riverside Park in Springfield are now officially open after a ceremony Tuesday evening. Members of the Zierfus family, friends of Noah, community members, and fundraisers were on hand to celebrate the completion of the project.

“It’s amazing,” Noah’s mother Sarah said. “They’ve already been coming down and playing on it. There’s so many kids that come down and they can skate, they can rollerblade, and then they can come play basketball. And there’s so many different ages and they all just play together and it’s really great.”

Make a Wish Vermont has granted a lot of wishes over the years, but they say this one was particularly special given the community aspect involved.

“This is my 32nd Wish today, and this is probably one of the more giving wishes that I’ve ever had the privilege to be associated with,” said Joe Larose, a Wish Granter with Make a Wish Vermont. “I was stunned somebody that young would be that forward thinking, offering something back to his community.”

And they needed that community to get the job done. It wasn’t an easy or a cheap project.

“As soon as we called Andy (Bladyka of Springfield Parks and Rec) at the school here, his enthusiasm was over the top,” said Jamie Hathaway, President and CEO of Make a Wish Vermont. “He helped us get in touch with all the right vendors to create this professional grade basketball court. And also we worked with the community leaders through the chamber of commerce and a whole lot of businesses came together and raised $10,000 to make this happen. Then, because of a story on your station, someone up in Burlington pitched in another $10,000. The Hoehl Family Foundation.”

For Noah and his family, the completion of the project signals the end of a very difficult period.

“With things opening up and with the court being done and more and more doctor’s appointments that we’ve gotten through, things are getting better,” Sarah said. “I feel like every day is getting better and there’s that light there at the end of the tunnel that we can see now.”

And the soon-to-be college sophomore looks forward to getting out on the courts as much as he can before it’s time to head to head back to Castleton for his first year as an on-campus student and player on the football team.

“I think that it’s gonna bring more people here,” Noah said of the courts. “When we have our games, we have people come here from around surrounding towns. Like even people from Newport come here. So a lot of people are really starting to come to Springfield more just for the court, which is really beneficial.”

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