Berlin Rules Out New Walking Path At Henry Park

BERLIN — Though the change has been anticipated for some time, the Berlin Mayor and Council officially agreed this week to drop the idea of a new walking path at Henry Park in favor of replacing the basketball courts.

“We will not be pursuing a walking path anymore,” confirmed Deputy Town Administrator Mary Bohlen.

Bohlen explained that information gathered by a Henry Park sub-committee found that visitors to the park were much more in favor of attention being paid to the basketball courts than the installation of a new walking path. Bohlen was recently given the go-ahead to start seeking out bids from contractors on renovating the courts.

While the time and cost of the project will depend entirely on how those bids are returned, Bohlen told the Parks Commission this week that she hopes to see everything wrapped up by early- or mid-autumn.

“We want this fairly quickly,” she said.

Once bids are in from contractors, the town can start looking into possible grants to help alleviate the cost. And after a price has been issued and a contractor settled up, Bohlen said that everything should fall into place in short order.

“Hopefully after that it will really start moving,” she said.

One issue that will still need some ironing out is lighting on the courts. Unlike the illumination on the tennis courts at nearby Stephen Decatur Park, Henry Park’s basketball courts are close to both the highway and a residential neighborhood, making bright lighting a potential safety hazard.

“The electric department is looking at lighting,” said Bohlen.

The most likely solution, she added, will just be to put a cut-off timer on whatever lights go up making them incapable of operating after a certain hour.

Even with the town waiting on contractor bids before any further steps can be taken, Bohlen and the Parks Commission will still be working on Henry Park by passing out surveys during the town’s National Night Out event on Tuesday, Aug. 7. The surveys will cover a wide range of topics and will ask participants to rank their priorities for Henry Park via a wish list.

“It’s based on information the sub-committee gathered in talking to people,” said Bohlen of the survey.

Besides the wish-list, the survey will also ask for some information on the taker and his or her relationship to Henry Park, data that Bohlen said will help the town “get a sense of who people really are” that visit parks.