BERLIN – Lighting for the Henry Park basketball courts is officially the town’s top priority as it seeks Program Open Space funding.
The Berlin Town Council voted 4-0 Monday to approve a fiscal year 2023 Program Open Space Annual Program for Development that includes lighting for the basketball courts at Henry Park as well as ping pong equipment for Burbage Park, a skate park study and an inclusive playground. The program for development is essentially a wish list of what the town would like to achieve with Program Open Space funding.
“This project list has been a living document for years and years,” Deputy Town Administrator Mary Bohlen said.
According to Bohlen, the town applies for a Community Parks and Playgrounds grant through Program Open Space every year. Because the installation of lighting at the Henry Park basketball courts has been a priority for several years but has yet to be funded, Bohlen said the Berlin Parks Commission recommended making that the town’s top priority on the program for development. Ping pong tables at Burbage Park, a skate park study and an inclusive playground have been added to the list as a result of recent community discussion. The skate park study, she said, would involve professionals coming to Berlin to assess various locations and determine what type of park would best suit the municipality.
“Look at Ocean Pines, which has sunken in the ground obstacles whereas Ocean City they’re all above ground,” she said. “We need that sort of thing, someone to look at that and make that kind of determination.”
The addition of an inclusive playground to the list of future projects came at the suggestion of Mayor Zack Tyndall. Tyndall provided the council with additional information he’d received from Playground Specialists Inc., a vendor he met at a Maryland Municipal League event. Tyndall said he was interested in creating an inclusive playground in Berlin because it was something local families wanted. He said several even traveled to playgrounds elsewhere.
“That’s not something I like to hear,” he said.
Tyndall said much of the equipment at Stephen Decatur Park was more than 15 years old. Some of it he even played on when he was a child.
“I think we need to look at that whole place and space comprehensively, making it so children of different ages and abilities can play together in one spot,” he said. “I think this needs to be a community dialogue.”
Though the proposal from Playground Specialists Inc. was close to $800,000, Tyndall said there could be grant opportunities the town hadn’t explored lately.