Berlin Park Work Ahead As Tourney Looms

BERLIN – Town officials
this week approved funding to fix up the dilapidated basketball courts at Henry
Park just in time for a two-day tournament slated for the facility over
Memorial Day weekend.

Two weeks ago, the
Berlin Mayor and Council approved a request from a local youth support group
Reaching Our Children for a two-day basketball tournament on May 28-29.
Reaching Our Children is a local and regional mentoring program that supports troubled
area youth through sports, tutoring and life skills lessons. The program is
funded largely through local fundraising efforts such as the basketball
tournament planned for Henry Park on Memorial Day weekend.

However, Berlin Public
Works Director Mike Gibbons told town officials while some work has already
been done on the dilapidated basketball courts at Henry Park, more was needed
to get the facility into shape in advance of the Memorial Day tournament.

Gibbons told the Mayor
and Council on Monday a missing basketball backboard and hoop standard had been
replaced and the existing standards had been repainted. In addition, the nets
on each of the hoops in the park had been replaced and a new sealant was in the
process of being tested on the many cracks in the surface of the courts.

If the sealant proved to
be successful, Gibbons was hoping to secure funds from the Mayor and Council to
recoat and stripe the basketball courts in advance of the tournament, a project
he estimated to cost around $3,000.

“I’m trying to get
approval tonight because of the event planned for May 29 and May 28,” he said.
“I believe there is sufficient money in the existing budget to take care of

Town officials approved
the $3,000 emergency funding request to improve the basketball courts for the
tournament, but not before Gibbons added a little wiggle room in his request.

“I’d like it to say not
to exceed $3,5000, which should take care of everything,” he said. “I’m glad
it’s going to be in good shape for the tournament.”

Mayor Gee Williams said
the $3,000 would be money well spent because of the recent volunteer effort to
clean up Henry Park and other parks in town. As part of an Earth Day effort two
weeks ago, hundreds of volunteers cleaned up different areas of the town including
the parks.

“I’m pleased with the
obvious pride people are taking in fixing up this park and other areas of the
town,” he said. “We’re doing the right thing by making sure it’s in tip-top
shape for this event.”