Middletown park getting a major face lift

Middie purple playground and basketball court among $350,000 in improvements at Sherman Park.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A Middletown park that hasn’t been upgraded in four decades is the focus of a major face lift this summer.

Sherman Park — which has not had any new investment since 1981 when it was also the site of a school — will have more than $350,000 in upgrades by Labor Day, including new playgrounds, a shelter, benches and a new “Middie” purple basketball court, according to Jeri Lewis, city community projects coordinator.

Currently the “playground equipment is old, worn and only serves toddlers, and the basketball court is in disrepair,” Lewis said.

In addition, the walking paths have deteriorated, the tree canopy was hazardous and unsightly, and the baseball backstop was falling down.

Despite that, the well-weathered park, surrounded by dense housing, still got plenty of daily visitors.

Enter the park board and the development of a plan to transform the park into a centerpiece for the neighborhood as part of $2 million earmarked this year for city parks improvements.

Tree trimming is ongoing, but replacement of the backstop is completed.

Sherman Park, located on Sherman Avenue, is one of the city’s 12 neighborhood parks that with the investment will serve as a model of how similar parks can be redeveloped.

“Once renovated, it will serve as a centerpiece for the neighborhood,” Lewis said.

The $357,000 project will have upgraded walking paths with gravel, four trash cans, a picnic table and steel shelter with a concrete pad underneath.

New playground equipment in sections will be geared to ages 2 to 5 years and 5 to 12.

The basketball court, which can also be used for hopscotch and four square, will be made of a durable interlocking tile system that is softer and does not retain heat like concrete or asphalt.

Also part of the project: lighting and cameras will be installed for security.

“There has been a neighborhood cleanup, and we are engaging the community for ongoing upkeep and to take care of what we are going to put in there,” Lewis said.

Also part of this year’s parks improvement budget are upgrades in Goldman Park and the restrooms at Smith Park.

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