Nearly 60 years after its construction, a Burbank basketball court that hosted TV stars and professional athletes is receiving a replacement floor.
The court has served as a location for basketball and volleyball games, school dances, day camps and other activities since the Verdugo Park Recreation Center was built in 1961. But over decades of use, the floor’s quality deteriorated, developing “dead spots” where basketballs tended to have less of a bounce.
The project, which started Aug. 26, is expected to be completed on Oct. 7, though residents may not be able to see the new surface for a while since most activities at the recreation center are shut down due to Los Angeles County and California health guidelines.
The City Council approved the project as part of its 2019-20 budget. The floor replacement was budgeted at $120,000, a cost paid by the Municipal Infrastructure Fund, which itself is funded by the city’s General Fund and the Measure P sales tax.
Burbank notables who played or coached on the court, according to recreation services manager Gwen Indermill, include actor and director Tim Matheson, director Tim Burton, Olympic volleyball player Linda Murphy and former UCLA basketball player and sports broadcaster Lynn Shackelford.
Also known for spending their time playing sports in the gym were Ron and Clint Howard, whose parents owned a home near the recreation center. Ron would go on to become an Academy Award-winning director after starring in television’s “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Happy Days,” and his brother has extensive television and film acting credits over several decades.
“One of the neat things about Burbank is that … several generations [have] come through our programs,” Indermill said via phone.
John Tyler, who lived in Burbank for about 33 years, said he remembers the gym as one of the places where he would play local basketball games in grade school. Though he was not the best player, Tyler admitted, he enjoyed the sport, remembering being coached by Don Ludwig, who later worked for USC as the executive director of Spirit and Traditions, and Spirituality and Sports.
“I think [the renovation] is a great idea, because time does wear things down and I do remember dead spots in the floor,” Tyler said in a phone interview. “I know that when renovations happen, people are pretty happy.”