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York City businessman helps give Penn Park basketball court a makeover

JESSICA SCHLADEBECK
YorkDispatch


Members of the York City community teamed up to offer services, time and money to make the Penn Park basketball court a slam dunk.

The park's face-lift was unveiled last week to reveal a newly resurfaced basketball court with all-weather acrylic surfacing, four new acrylic backboards and new breakaway rims.

"I saw how bad the conditions were at the parks this summer and I figured I needed to help and give back," said T.J. Rice, a York city business owner. "I see kids out there playing basketball every day."

Rice, of Next Level Barbershop at 203 E. Philadelphia St., reached out to the city of York and offered to spearhead a collaborative repair effort.

"I'm grateful we have local homegrown community members willing to step up and partner with the city of York in assisting to provide our youth and community members with a quality state-of-the-art recreational outlet," York Mayor Kim Bracey said.

Costly improvements to parks and recreation facilities haven't been a top priority as the city — which assisted with installation of equipment — struggles with financial woes.

Partnering up: Rice "is a local community member, born and raised here," said city community relations director Edquina Washington. "Penn Park is one of the most well-known parks in the city, and he saw that something needed to be done there, so he did it."

Rice also approached Paul Harris from California Sports Surfaces for his assistance.

Harris jumped on board and convinced his company to provide a discount on paint and other products and offered to do the resurfacing work as a volunteer.

"Like a lot of old courts, it had the typical asphalt surface, which had not been treated for a very long time," Harris said. "There were a lot of cracks, and the paint was completely discolored. It was an old, rough-looking court, and now it plays like new."

Harris was joined by an army of Rice's barbershop customers for the repair work.

The resurfacing project took about a week to complete and is expected to be finished by Monday evening, Rice said, adding that there are still a few touch-ups left on his to-do list.

The value of the donated time and materials is about $15,000.

Rice said he already has his eye on the next endeavor.

"The city parks are my priority for sure," Rice said.

"Honestly, I'd like to hit all of them in the next year or two."

— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at jschladebeck@yorkdispatch.com