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Hoop dreams coming down

Company takes down unwanted basketball posts

August 22, 2008

By David Sharos Special to The Sun

In the 1990s, hoop dreams were alive and well here in the metropolitan area as driveway basketball poles appeared by the hundreds, and Chicagoans rejoiced in the magic of the Chicago Bulls.

And while the team's recent No. 1 draft pick might pave the way to restoring the franchise to glory, many of those basketball poles and backboards are showing their age, either through rust, flaking paint, or just plain wear and tear.

John Farrell, left, owner of US Post, and employee Jim Farrell chip away at the concrete foundation of an old basketball hoop for Naperville homeowner Mary Horek. The company will take down and remove all signs of the old hoop and replace the hole with topsoil and grass seed.

John Farrell, owner of US Post, takes down an old basketball hoop Wednesday morning for Naperville homeowner Mary Horek. The company specializes in installing mailboxes at homes in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Indiana, but started Last Shot Backboard Removal when it saw a need for it.

AT A GLANCE

US Post and Last Shot Backboard Removal

Call: 800-535-2495, office; 877-434-6580, fax

Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

On the Web: www.uspost.co

John Farrell, owner of his home-based US Post and Last Shot Backboard Removal business, says there's another reason to take them down.

"It's pretty much common knowledge that standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and with these basketball poles, water just gets in there and remains stagnant," Farrell said. "Many of our customers want the poles taken down for the visual benefits, but not having a breeding ground for mosquitoes is certainly another benefit."

From mailboxes to posts

Almost 20 years ago, the Chicago native started his US Post business installing mailboxes throughout the area, from Minneapolis to Indianapolis, Farrell says. This spring, he added Last Shot Backboard Removal service.

"I live in Wisconsin now, but we have a deal with Red Roof Inns that allows me to stay at places throughout the Midwest," Farrell said. "For years, DuPage County has been my base of operations - the nucleus of our business, and we do a lot of work here."

The basketball pole removal service's first customer was a Wheaton resident who had a pole removed in May. Since then, Farrell said at least 50 more clients have used his new service, and that the stagnant water issue is usually present.

"We did a home in Naperville just in the past week or so, and when we cut the pole at the base, the water just gushed out," he said. "I can't say that I know what mosquito larva look like, but with the stagnant water, you'd have to think they'd be attracted to that pole."

Customers like results

Farrell offers three options, from scraping and refinishing the basketball pole itself, to total removal, including the pole and concrete base, and planting grass seed afterward. Folks are excited about the results.

"Over the years, I've seen people really excited about opening their front door and seeing a new mailbox at the end of the driveway, but the reaction from people when these poles come down has been triple of the reaction to a mailbox," he said.

A complete demolition and restoration of the area can be completed in usually less than an hour, including the hauling away of all scrap materials. Farrell's business is seasonal, and he recommends backboard removal by mid- to late fall. Costs range from $100 for pole removal at ground level to $150 for complete demolition and restoration.