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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

MultiCare’s $1 million gift to Hoopfest to fund new basketball courts in Riverfront Park

Hoopfest director Matt Santangelo, left, accepts a check for $1 million from Bill Robertson, the president and CEO of MultiCare, on Saturday, June 29, 2019, on the tournament’s center court in downtown Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

A $1 million donation from MultiCare to Hoopfest is expected to fund the construction of two and a half basketball courts in Riverfront Park near the north bank of the Spokane River.

MultiCare executives presented the gift to Hoopfest director Matt Santangelo on Saturday before the dunk contest at the tournament’s center court.

Bill Robertson, MultiCare’s president and CEO, said the donation and a 10-year partnership with Hoopfest “will bring Hooptown to life.”

MultiCare began sponsoring and providing medical aid for Hoopfest last year, and during the tournament the organization, which runs MultiCare Deaconess Hospital, MultiCare Rockwood Clinic and MultiCare Valley Hospital in Spokane, has tallied the number of player injuries on an outdoor TV screen.

By 10 a.m., 305 injuries were reported, Robertson said. By 5 p.m., that number had grown to 815.

Santangelo said plans for the new courts in Riverfront Park were still being drawn up. But he said community members should suggest ideas for murals that will be painted on the courts.

A gazebo still stands near the spot for the new courts, and Santangelo said he plans on turning it into an outdoor Hoopfest Hall of Fame.

The gift from MultiCare might also pay for murals on basketball courts in Pullman and Lewiston, Santangelo said.

He said the idea was “to fuse basketball and art.”