Basketball courts

Custom paint launched for Henry Park basketball courts

By Greg Ellison

(May 13, 2021) Berlin native hoop enthusiast Adrian Bowen hopes to start a community project to beautify the Henry Park basketball courts with a range of vibrant colors to make the site more appealing to players of all ages.

Bowen, who was accompanied by Carol Rose, presented the proposal to the Berlin Parks Commission last Tuesday.

“I grew up playing basketball there,” he said. “That’s where I pretty much learned the game.”

Bowen said gambling has fallen in recent years at this location.

“No one is actually using the basketball court,” he said. “This project will bring it back to life.

Deputy city administrator Mary Bohlen questioned that claim.

“The courts are well used,” she said. “Worcester County Recreation has used them every summer for at least two to three years. “

Based on sentiment from acquaintances and social media posts, Bowen said a higher percentage of ball players preferred playing fields in Ocean City, Snow Hill, Pocomoke, Showell or Salisbury.

“They are not as used as before,” he said. “Being the father of four who love to play basketball, I don’t have time to go as far as Ocean City. “

President Mike Wiley asked if Bowen felt the location was lacking for organized recreation programs.

Bowen said that regardless of the offers, many members of the community are unable to participate financially.

“A lot of the programs offered are not really suitable for the children of Flower Street and Bay Street,” he said. “A lot of these kids can’t afford the programs. “

Committee member Patricia Dufendach asked who would invest the equity to complete the proposed painting.

Adrien bowen

“Would the kids do that?” ” she said.

Rose said organizers began forming a nonprofit, WE HEART BERLIN, Inc., several months ago to support the effort.

“We thought for a first draft it was special,” she said.

Rose said grants were being sought through the Berlin Arts and Entertainment Committee and the Worcester County Arts Council.

“We feel they are interested in the project,” she said. “No taxpayer money would be used, it would just be grants and donations.”

Rose said renderings of the paint patterns have been prepared, which could be presented for approval by the mayor and city council.

Bowen enlisted the expert advice of Shelton Hawkins, who has completed comparable projects in recent years in Easton and Cambridge.

“He teaches art in Charles County,” he said.

Rose said Hawkins, from Easton, received a second concrete canvas after receiving high praise for his initial business.

“In Easton… the city council and the mayor were so impressed with how it went and how well received by the whole community that they asked him to renovate a second court,” said she declared.

Bohlen asked about long term maintenance issues.

Bowen said the custom paint job had an average lifespan of five to eight years, with the Hawkins team being available if touch ups were needed.

Bohlen said the basketball courts have been rehabilitated over the past decade.

“These courts were completely overhauled not even 10 years ago,” she said.

Bowen agreed that the site is not run down.

“There is nothing wrong with the courts now – you are absolutely right,” he said.

Either way, Bowen said the intention is to foster a sense of community connection by involving residents in the beautification.

“My big problem is… when young people go out they’re not attracted to going and sitting under the pavilion and smoking marijuana, dealing drugs and drinking. alcohol, ”he said. “That’s what’s been going on there for a few years.”

The hope is that the splash of bright colors would generate excitement among hoop players, especially young people.

“The park held tournaments years ago,” he said. “This park is only used for basketball … but we could use it … for other things.”

Bohlen questioned the costs, noting that the mayor and city council would like to know who would foot the bill for the maintenance.

“It’s not just about painting it and going away,” she said. “They need to be professionally sealed so the paint doesn’t wash off. “

Rose said Hawkins explained the process in detail.

“He explained that the primer would go on and stay for 2-3 weeks,” she said.

Regardless of the potential costs, Rose said the project will be completed without funding from the city of Berlin.

“I am very aware that we don’t have the money here in town to really do whatever our children need,” she said. “Our young people need things in this city.

Ideally, after the courts paint scheme overhaul, further fundraising efforts would be launched to pay for future maintenance, Rose said.

The Parks Commission voted unanimously in favor of the proposal.

Bohlen said when Bowen and Rose are ready, the proposal will be scheduled for a mayor and city council meeting.