Henry Park Lighting Installation Underway

BERLIN – New lighting at the Henry Park basketball courts should be operational next month.

Installation of lighting at the basketball courts at Flower Street park is underway and should be complete in January, according to town staff.

“The project is basically ahead of schedule right now and it should be done by the first or second week in January,” said Tim Lawrence, the town’s electric utility director.

The purchase of the lights was funded through a $111,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Community Parks and Playgrounds Program. Lawrence told the town council last week that the lighting equipment was delivered a week early and that the poles were already in the ground. He said the lights should be operational by early January.

The lights, which are atop 60-foot poles, have been angled downward.

“The lights are LED and they’re actually focused downward so they don’t spread so much light outward, toward the highway or toward the playground,” Lawrence said. “It’s more focused down straight onto the court itself.”

Councilman Jack Orris asked if town staff would be able to replace lightbulbs on poles that high. Lawrence said they would not be able to and would likely have to call in a crane company.

He added, however, that these were similar to the lights at the tennis courts, and they hadn’t yet had a light go out.

“The lighting, it actually works the same way as the Decatur Park tennis court lights,” he said. “They monitor it remotely by satellite. If a bulb goes out they’ll contact me and tell me which pole is out and which light head it’s on.”

He said he’d be seeking council guidance regarding the hours for the lights. Town Administrator Mary Bohlen said neighbors had been consulted about the lights a few years ago when the town began planning the project.

“When we did the survey the time that was suggested was 10 p.m.,” she said.

Councilwoman Shaneka Nichols said she felt that was too late. Police Chief Arnold Downing agreed.

“If you set it for 9 p.m. the lights would only be in use for a few months a year,” Bohlen said, noting that they wouldn’t be needed during summer months.

She said officials could formally set the hours for the lights in January when they updated the town’s ordinance related to basketball court hours.

Mayor Zack Tyndall suggested the town send something to the property owners directly impacted regarding Berlin’s plans for the basketball court lights.

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.