BERLIN – The renaissance of Henry Park is expected to continue with the installation of new basketball backboards.
We Heart Berlin Inc., the nonprofit created earlier this year to promote sustainable activities and recreational opportunities in the community, last week raised the $17,000 needed to replace the basketball backboards at Henry Park. The project has been planned to complement the repainting of the courts planned for next month.
“We Heart Berlin has raised the $17,000 necessary to fully fund a project that started as a mural and art installation on our basketball courts and is now a full makeover, with state-of-the-art and best of breed upgrades to the equipment on the court,” said Tony Weeg, president of We Heart Berlin.
In July, town officials approved We Heart Berlin’s proposal to have artist Shelton Hawkins—with the help of local volunteers—paint a brightly colored mural on the basketball courts. In the wake of that approval, We Heart Berlin announced plans to raise $17,000 to replace the six existing backboards at the court. Weeg said the new backboards, manufactured by TrueBounce, would be clear acryclic backboards with energy dispersion holes, better breakaway rims and new pads.
“What some people may not realize sitting in an office is that what we currently have are nearly unplayable due to the bounce and shock that happens anytime a ball hits the rim,” Weeg said. “The reverberations continue for a long time, especially if someone dunks it. This new equipment will eliminate a lot of this.”
When Weeg shared news of We Heart Berlin’s plans, community members were quick to step up to fund the backboards, which cost slightly more than $2,800 each. Yard Designs Inc. and Burn Wood Fired Pizza each paid for two backboards while the Berlin Police Department funded another. We Heart Berlin paid for the final backboard.
Weeg plans to seek town council approval later this month to move forward with installing the new backboards. He hopes to have the work done to coincide with the painting of the courts, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 13. He and other We Heart Berlin members are hopeful the revitalization of the courts will encourage more local kids to take advantage of the park.
“These upgrades to Henry Park will be enjoyed for a long time and the kids that help us make it happen will take ownership,” Weeg said, “and a new level of care and energy will be present at Henry Park—inevitably.”