BERLIN - A fundraiser will be held on refurbished courts in Berlin this weekend.
The T-Cop Foundation, formed in 2015 after Tyler Cop was killed that year at age 15 when he was shot by a teen relative with a pellet gun, will be hosting its first basketball and doubles tennis tournament.
The tournament will be held at the newly renovated Berlin High School outdoor basketball and tennis courts.
Cop’s death was ruled an accidental homicide and the case is closed. No charges were filed.
“We want to build awareness as well as generate proceeds that can be reinvested around town,” said Scott Trevethan, a board member of the foundation and cousin to Robyn, Tyler Cop’s mother.
The foundation, which has held a golf tournament the past two years, wants to create and sustain financial assistance to the athletic programs in town and build a scholarship fund to create opportunities for students looking to pursue sports in college.
“We want to support areas that will benefit the town and that people will use,” like athletic facilities and parks, Trevethan said.
The new courts’ completion comes after the council approved the $550,000 renovation project in July of 2016, and $50,000 this year to update the lighting systems. The courts previously had cracks in the surface, were growing weeds and had missing nets.
The high school team played tennis at the Newington Tennis Center to avoid the damaged courts.
“(Tyler) loved basketball so this is a way to keep his memory living,” said Fran Mazzarella, whose son was best friends with Tyler.
The courts now feature a new finished blacktop in Berlin High School red and blue, nets, and four benches with canopies, which were paid for by a $10,500 donation from the foundation, the Ryan T. Lee Foundation and other community organizations. There also are new lights, which members of the facilities department installed and painted in an effort to reduce costs. The courts also feature wind screens and landscaping surrounding them.
“This has been a true town effort,” said Trevethan, who wanted to thank Facilities Director Doug Solek, interim Town Manager Jack Healy and other town employees. A ceremony was held Thursday evening for members of the Facilities Department and foundation to officially open the courts.
The 3-on-3 basketball and doubles tennis tournament will begin at 9 a.m. and run until 5 p.m. on Saturday at Berlin High School, 139 Patterson Way. If games do not finish by the end of Saturday, the tournament will resume on Sunday.
Thurston Foods Inc. will provide food and music will be playing throughout the day. Those unable to attend but would still like to donate to the foundation can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Trevethen said the foundation also plans to create a syndicate of the local foundations in town, with the Ryan T. Lee foundation, which was formed in the Berlin resident namesake’s honor after he died at the age of 19 when a taxicab hit him in Brooklyn in 2011.
“We want to continue to take proceeds and help things that have a Berlin focus and are Berlin centric, especially with an athletic focus,” said Trevethan.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.