Tile floor at Arbutus Recreation Center

A group of players enjoy a half-court game of basketball at the Arbutus Recreation Center. A proposal by the area's state representatives is before the General Assembly to replace the tile floor at the center on Sulphur Spring Road with a wood surface. (Staff photo by Lauren Loricchio / April 8, 2014)

The unique sound of a basketball being dribbled on a hard tile floor echoed through the Arbutus Recreation Center last Wednesday afternoon as a group of kids played an afterschool game.

But that sound could be gone along with the tile surface that players young and old find uncomfortable if a $30,000 state bond is secured for the project.

Legislation co-sponsored by Dels. Steven DeBoy and James Malone Jr. in the House of Delegates and by state Sen. Edward Kasemeyer in the state Senate was before the General Assembly to replace the tile with the more traditional wooden surface.

The process is underway to replace failing tile in the rec center lobby, but the gym floor is not having any problems, said Baltimore County spokeswoman Ellen Kobler.

Kobler said the vinyl flooring is standard for gym floors.

However, some who frequent the recreation center disagreed.

"It's not good for people to be playing on the cement floor," said George Kendrick, treasurer of the Arbutus Parks and Recreation Council.

The Arbutus Recreation Council would have to provide the additional funds for the total of $52,000 it will cost to replace the floor, Kendrick said.

"It's something that I've wanted since the gym has been built," Kendrick said.

The Arbutus Recreation Center was built in 2010 as part of a complex that also includes the Arbutus Library and Arbutus Senior Center on Sulphur Spring Road.

The tile floor was installed rather than the wood, floor that is typically seen in a gym.

Kendrick, who also serves as chairman of the adult rec basketball league, said the gym gets plenty of foot traffic and is utilized by a number of adult and children's basketball leagues.

Del. Steven DeBoy, who represents District 12A that includes Arbutus, agreed that the number of leagues and players using the facility make changing the surface the right move.

"It's hard to play basketball on a tile floor. So we're trying to get money for a wood floor that people could play basketball on," DeBoy said.

Steve Guzik, 60, a recreation leader at the center, monitors the gym to ensure safety and make sure that kids follow the rules.

Guzik said having a tile floor could be a safety issue.

Tile tends to get slippery, although he's never witnessed anyone get hurt, Guzik said. "If there's money available, I think wood would be a better surface for the space."