MUKILTEO, Wash. – Even as schools reopen from the shutdown, available venues for kids to play sports, such as gymnasiums, remain closed. That’s why some local Mukilteo moms and dads, decided to take measures into their own hands in order for their kids to play basketball.
When Peter Zieve, CEO of Electroimpact, received a call from a local Mukilteo father asking if one of his warehouses could be used as a basketball court there was no hesitation to say yes.
“It’s very important. It’s critical to their sanity,” Zieve said, concerning kids having athletic outlets like this. “I don’t know who owns the schools. I thought we owned the schools, but it doesn’t seem that way.”
Peter Zieve founded Electroimpact 35 years ago, which is a world leader in design and manufacturing of aerospace tooling and automation.
According to the father, the basketball playing is nothing official or formal. Only a few weeks earlier, Zieve assisted with securing a field for the Kamiak Youth Football league.
“It’s just some moms and dads that wanted their kids and friends to get active and play free from the rain…Health and safety is of the utmost importance. Mr Zieve provided a huge space and a great opportunity, and we want to be responsible and safe-so we are keeping the numbers very low. If things improve later, it would be great to invite more kids and let them play games,” he said.
Even with some sports programs reopening up in Mukilteo, there are not very many options for kids to play sports in indoor venues other than the YMCA, according to the father, which is often packed with older kids playing basketball.
“We are so thankful that the kids can get away from all the screen time and get back to some normalcy. When basketball leagues start up, these kids will go back to playing for the Boys and Girls club or local Mukilteo elementary and middle schools, but even then, gym time is tough to come by, so hopefully this will continue. I want healthy activities for my kids, and this has been great,” he said.
Normally, kids would be practicing basketball in the school gymnasiums, but this year the schools would not even return their phone calls, according to Zieve.
“Finally, out of desperation a dad reached out to me and I said, sure, I’ll make a basketball court for you!” Zieve said.
Zieve has an eleven-year-old son who plays on Tuesdays and has eight warehouses, about 28,000 square feet each. He led the father through his facilities and evaluated which would be the best for their court. Some had better floors, some were more heavily used. Eventually they decided upon a building, which still had a trench down the middle—not perfect for dribbling over when running a full court. Despite this, it seemed to be the best of all options to play at half-court. It was quiet, was not as heavily used, and the floors were the best of all available warehouses.
Once a building was settled upon, Zieve hired a contracting firm to recondition the floor and installed portable nets. The cement floor was ground down to floor level, having been rendered uneven by the engineers, and epoxied everything flush. He then had the clean-up staff clean up the floors of any grease or hazardous bi-products from machine manufacturing. The whole project took two weeks and cost around $2,000.
The kids have been playing basketball six days a week for the past month. They have their own access and can come at any time they want, using a lockbox Zieve set up for them. Currently the building is still operational, so a schedule has been in place to ensure the kids playing do not disturb the on-site engineer, who has been working in the morning before the kids get there.
“He said the sound of basketballs bouncing was a bit much for him,” Zieve laughed. “But it was no problem at all.”
Zieve does not imagine the kids will continue to practice through the summer, when nicer weather allows them to play outside, but when the fall comes, he says they are more than welcome to come back.
“Mr. Zieve has gone above and beyond what we had hoped, the space is huge, he had a work crew clear and repair the floor on his own dime, he gave us the freedom to come and go, and he made us feel welcome. He has been a supporter of area youth for a long time. That is why we initially thought to ask him. He has filled a void and as long as he has some space and is willing to share, there will be kids shooting hoops,” the father said.