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Wood floor to be added to Arbutus Rec Center

George Kendrick, treasurer of the Arbutus Recreation Council, accepts a check from Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz that will help fund a new wood floor at the Arbutus Recreation Center. (Lauren Loricchio/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

After four years of raising funds and seeking the support of elected officials, Arbutus Recreation Council treasurer George Kendrick will finally see a new floor in the Arbutus Recreation Center.

The 92-year-old who serves as treasurer of the Arbutus Recreation Council, an outspoken advocate for his community for many years, organized an effort to replace the vinyl tile floor of the recreation facility with red maple wood.

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The installation will begin this week and is expected to be complete in six weeks, said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who was among the officials to announce the new flooring at a ceremony held last Saturday.

A check for $74,000 was presented to Kendrick by Kamenetz, who accepted the funds on behalf of the recreation council. The council raised the other $25,000 needed to complete the work.

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"As soon as we heard the words George Kendrick we knew we had to get involved and make this happen," Kamenetz said before a group of about 20 people seated in the recreation facility.

Kendrick is known by residents as the "unofficial mayor" of Arbutus.

A $30,000 bond to fund the project was also secured by Dels. Steven DeBoy and James Malone, and state Senator Ed Kasemeyer in the spring legislative session.

"I'm so thrilled that we're getting a new floor here. I think I've worked tirelessly in the last four years to put a bug in everybody's ear," said Kendrick, known well by his neighbors for coaching the Arbutus Big Red amateur men's football team since 1946. "Because anybody who plays basketball or volleyball or any other sport — playing on concrete is not conducive to good leg muscles."

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Kendrick said the floor, which is concrete covered with polyvinyl tile, is too hard to comfortably play impact sports like basketball.

"You stand here for 10 minutes and it makes your leg muscles tight," Kendrick said standing in the center of the facility.

Kendrick has been working to see the flooring switched since the facility was built in 2010 and dedicated to him and his wife of 60 years Naamah by former County Executive Jim Smith, he said.

His grandson Brandon Kendrick, 22, traveled from the Eastern Shore to attend the announcement his grandfather has been waiting for.

"We went out to breakfast this morning and all he could talk about was coming over here for this," Brandon Kendrick said. "Ever since they first built this he's been waiting for a wood floor."

Kamenetz said that the county government is looking to develop partnerships with communities throughout the county to accomplish such projects.

"In tough economic times it allows us to stretch our tax dollars that much further," Kamenetz said. "It's an easier decision for us to make when we see community members getting involved."

The county has developed similar relationships with communities to complete recreation projects, for example, the dog park that was recently built in Perry Hall, Kamenetz said.

"There are projects like this one throughout the county where we are able to do a lot more when we know that the citizens are also invested both emotionally and financially," Kamenetz said.

Kendrick said he hopes that the new floor is something children in the community can use for years to come.

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