BERLIN – Residents in Berlin could see new tennis courts at Stephen Decatur Park as soon as next spring thanks to a grant from Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources.
The town has received a $215,000 Community Parks and Playgrounds grant from the state’s Department of Natural Resources to help fund the replacement of its aging tennis courts.
“It reaches a point where you just can’t keep repairing,” said Mary Bohlen, the town’s administrative services director. “You have to start over.”
She said the courts were decades old and the town had been seeking a grant to help replace them for years. When none were received, staff did what they could to keep the courts playable.
“They have been patched and resurfaced several times,” Bohlen said. “There are cracks and in places the surface isn’t even. We receive a number of complaints every year about the condition of the courts. We’ve done the best we can with what we’ve had to work with.”
She applied for a Community Parks and Playgrounds grant on behalf of the town last year and didn’t get it. This year, however, the application was successful. Town employees are currently developing bid specifications for the work, which will include replacing the tennis courts and the fence around them. The mural that serves as the backdrop to the courts will not be effected, nor will the racquetball courts.
Though it’s too early to tell what the project’s total cost will be, Bohlen said town staff would like to explore the possibility of installing courts made of a pervious material. According to Bohlen similar courts, though not very common in the United States yet, have proven quite popular in Europe.
Pervious courts, she explained, would allow water to flow right through. Instead of sitting on top of concrete or flowing to the side, rainwater would seep through the pervious surface.
“It would help us with stormwater management,” Bohlen said, “and, 10-15 minutes after a rain the courts would be playable.”
Berlin Mayor Gee Williams said he’d love to see the town take stormwater issues into account and install pervious courts.
“If we can afford to do it let’s try,” he said.
Bohlen said she would come back to town officials when she had more information on the project’s cost.