Walker Park basketball courts closed for improvements and mural project

A crew works to resurface the basketball courts at Walker Park on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Flyer photo/Todd Gill)

The basketball courts at Walker Park will close this week for an improvement project that includes a new court surface and a mural installation.

The courts are scheduled to close on Monday, July 24, and to reopen on Saturday, Aug. 5 for a celebration event that includes a back-to-school shoe giveaway.

The mural project and giveaway are sponsored by the AND1 street basketball brand.

The footwear and apparel company, 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.

Examples of similar projects can be seen at Cordelia Park in Charlotte, N.C. and at DeFremery Park in Oakland, Calif.

The City Council in May voted 7-1 to approve the project. Former council member Sonia Harvey voted against and said she was worried the mural would be seen more as an advertisement for AND1 rather than a piece of public art for the community since the other projects have included brand recognition incorporated into the designs.

Parks and Recreation Advisory Board chair Steve Sheely said in looking at previous projects, the AND1 brand recognition included in the murals typically accounted for less than one-half of a percent of the overall mural design.

Local artist Jeremy Navarrette was selected to design the new mural.

Navarrette presented some preliminary designs to the Fayetteville Arts Council earlier this month, but was asked to reduce the size of the AND1 logo by member Bob Stafford, who was one of three people – along with Sheely – to advocate for the project during public comment at the May 2 City Council meeting.

Stafford said he argued against Harvey’s suggestion that the mural would be an advertisement, but the preliminary designs he saw did indeed look more like brand promotion.

Navarrette said he would revise the design and report back to the Arts Council at a special meeting scheduled for Wednesday, July 26.