Proposal would revitalize basketball courts at Walker Park

Walker Park (Flyer photo)
UPDATE: The City Council on Tuesday tabled this proposal until May 2.

A proposal in the works for south Fayetteville would revitalize the basketball courts at Walker Park, including a new mural through a donation from a popular street basketball brand.

Footwear and apparel company AND1, which first became known for its video mixtapes of basketball games at urban courts in the early 1990s, has recently been investing in refurbishing public courts across the country as part of its “Paint the Park” initiative.

The projects include a community celebration and have featured performances by athletes as well as giveaways and collaborations with local artists.

The City Council on Tuesday will consider a plan to allow AND1 and Walmart to paint the courts at Walker Park and to host a back-to-school shoe and backpack giveaway.

Officials from the brand, which is sold in Walmart stores, would like to team up with a local artist to design and paint a mural on the court, and host a celebration event – likely in August – that would include the giveaway plus food and community entertainment.

“It seems like an exciting opportunity,” said Alison Jumper, the city’s director of parks, natural resources and cultural affairs. Jumper estimated the value of the project to be about $200,000.

Jumper said examples of other “Paint the Park” projects can be seen at Cordelia Park in Charlotte, N.C. and at DeFremery Park in Oakland, Calif.

A mural is shown on a basketball court at Cordelia Park in Charlotte, N.C. as part of the AND1 “Paint the Parks” initiative. The company has proposed a similar project at Walker Park in Fayetteville. (Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation)

The design of the court would be finalized once artists are chosen and would be reflective of the Fayetteville community, said Jumper.

As part of the mural, an AND1 logo would be included on the courts, similar to those in past “Paint the Park” projects. A Walmart logo is also proposed for the Fayetteville project.

The item was first presented as part of the City Council’s consent portion of the agenda, meaning it would have been considered along with seven other items in a single, all-inclusive vote without further individual discussion.

Councilmember Sonia Harvey, however, asked that the item be removed from the consent agenda and placed onto the new business portion of the meeting so that a separate discussion could take place.

“I have great hesitation about an advertisement in the park because we haven’t seen that kind of commercialization before,” Harvey said.

Jumper said the city does have a donor recognition policy to allow acknowledgment for businesses that contribute to parks infrastructure.

Bryce Davis Park in west Fayetteville includes the 3-acre IAMS Dog Park named after a donation from the IAMS pet food brand.

“I like it,” said Stephen Sheely, vice-president of the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. “This would save some money for the expenditures that are needed for refurbishing the courts, and while it does kind of cross into some commercialization, it’s just so positive in every other way.”

The parks board voted 9-0 to recommend approval of the project at its April 3 meeting.

The council will consider the proposal at its next regular meeting on Tuesday, April 18.