‘Long Time Coming’ Berlin Tennis Court Project Moving Ahead

‘Long Time Coming’ Berlin Tennis Court Project Moving Ahead
The tennis courts at Stephen Decatur Park are pictured last summer. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN – The long-awaited replacement of the tennis courts at Stephen Decatur Park is expected to move forward following contract approvals this week.

On Monday, the Berlin Town Council approved contracts that will allow for the replacement of the aging courts at the park.

“This is a long time coming,” said Town Administrator Laura Allen said.

Allen said the project had been broken up into various pieces in an effort to make it more affordable. Though the town received more than $200,000 in grant funding through Community Parks and Playgrounds for the project, cost estimates last year came in at $372,000. Officials advised town staff to scale back the project.

“We worked diligently to do that,” Allen said.

In the meantime, the town also applied for $20,000 in Program Open Space funding, which was allocated to Berlin by Worcester County.

By breaking the project up, Allen said the town was able to bring the total cost down to $299,603. She asked the council to approve a $84,798 contract with Terra Firma for demolition and court construction, a $11,738 contract with Cunningham Recreation for the purchase and installation of amenities and a $59,838 contract with Grasso Fence Co. for fencing. The town has already purchased lighting for the courts.

She said there was still a shortfall of $17,614 but that she recommended a budget amendment to cover it. She added that savings of $14,229 could be achieved by removing the vinyl coating proposed for the new fence around the courts but that she didn’t recommend it.

“We think what that will result in is a rusty fence around a very nice tennis court,” she said.

Mike Wiley, chairman of the town’s parks commission, agreed.

“We feel this is penny wise and dollar foolish,” he said.

Wiley urged the council to approve the overall project.

“We realize the tennis courts are not as widely used as the walking path or the playground,” he said, “however it is a popular part of our park system. The usage may have fallen some due to the condition of the court however I feel confident in predicting it will pick up once again if the courts are reconstructed.”

The council voted 4-0 top approve the proposed contracts. Allen said it was too soon to say when the work would begin.

“We’re coordinating multiple contractors and employee groups for this project,” she said, “plus the weather is a factor.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.