It is hard to believe that just more than a decade ago when I would take my regular walks through Rembrandt Park, I’d often hear comments to the effect that the basketball courts should be removed. This came mainly from seniors and even some residents of Merrimac.
Well, in recent years the number of young families living in the immediate vicinity has grown substantially and these basketball courts have gained popularity. The problem is they are in dire need for a facelift and that is what I advocated at the Council table. Parks and Recreation, Engineering and Public Works heard my cry and a renovation job was placed into our Capital Expenditures budget four years ago. There are a lot of requests and we must wait our turn.
Users of all ages kept asking me, “when will these courts be fixed?” I promised it would be done by 2021 and last November we got the green light to go to tender. Engineer Dalia Mohamed, Parks and Recreation Director Cornelia Ziga and our Legal Counsel for Procurement Andrea Charon worked exceedingly hard on this project. The original budget was $70,000 and after receiving several informal equipment quotes, Dalia asked Cornelia to present a business case to our Finance Department, which was approved for an extra $15,000.
I have been fortunate to be able to count on some solid advice from constituents Alex Fyon and Kevin Fuks. Their JHoops organization runs leagues, after school programs, summer camps and more. Kevin has been playing basketball at Rembrandt for more than 20 years. They are very invested in these courts. They will join other regulars like 18 year old Shai Troy, whom I first met when he was two, to form the first ever Rembrandt Park Basketball Advisory Committee.
Next week, along with Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, we will meet with Dalia and Cornelia to get an overview of the project. While elaborate changes are not likely given the fact the budget has already been stretched to the limit we will explore the possibility of building a mini-companion court for younger kids. JHoops is open to a possible sponsorship.
Plain and simply, the existing court is in very poor condition and is at the end of its
lifespan. Among the selected new equipment will be the basketball poles, backboards, front mounted rims basketball nets and players benches.
- Removing the existing cracked asphalt and install six inches of MG-20 crushed stone to
maintain a slop of one percent for better drainage;
- Install new asphalt;
- Install two coats of epoxy paint acrylic surface;
- Install new basketball sets, including the two new poles and two steel fan-shaped basketball boards with double rim basketball goals;
- Install a new 30-foot light projector with two LED fixtures;
- Install two players' benches with backs;
- Install new grass (SOD) around the perimeter of the basketball court.
The work is scheduled to start in June 2021 and to be completed by the end of July. We had nine conforming bids
I will have more to report when Mayor Brownstein and members of the Advisory Committee meet with our staff next week.