MADISON – The City of Madison received a check for $6,500 last week that is earmarked for resurfacing the basketball court at Madison City Park and for the purchase of new backboards and rims.
Perry Ballard, who makes his home in Martinsburg is a 1985 graduate of Scott High School and a frequent contributor to Boone County through his contributions.
A West Virginia University graduate, Ballard said that he was disheartened to see a court that he used to play on as a kid look dilapidated.
“It isn’t as much that is an eye-sore for the park,” he said. “We want kids to get out there and play on it and be active. That is hard to do when the court is in this kind of shape.”
Ballard said that he follows what happens in Boone County and this was simply a project that he was very passionate about it.
“I’m aware of the economic struggle here,” he said. “I know about the strife of this area. I noticed that things are done at the park, which is great but the basketball court would be missed. This is simply my family and I giving back to where I came from. I love the people here and the area here.”
Ballard has cherished memories of the court.
“Growing up in Washington Heights, I’m a Madison boy,” he said. “You played hoops in West Madison or at the Madison City Park. It was an influence on me. We had picnics at the park and played basketball all day long. It kept us doing good things and we weren’t bored so we weren’t doing bad things. I just want to give back to a community that I’ll always care about.”
Ballard, who is mostly known for his professional boxing career said that he plans to come back and play on the court.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’ll be down there shooting around when I’m in town.”
As a boxer, Ballard's most prestigious belt came when he defeated Steve Walker for the WBF Middleweight Title in 2014. He defeated Walker again in July of 2017 in Charlotte. He hasn’t retired from the sport.
Prior to Ballard’s contribution to the basketball court, the city had already made plans to erect three signs entering the city to honor the successful businessman and boxer.
“There is a lot that you can say about a man who comes back and gives back the way Perry does in this community,” added City Manager Chet Burgess. “I grew up and graduated with his older brother (Ross). We’re experiencing hard times economically and when someone gives back like this it is just tremendous for the community and it doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated, I’ll tell you that.”
Ballard, the founder of Ballard Safety, LLC has over two decades of experience in working with government agencies, commercial construction industries and manufacturing companies. He has been named “Safety Person of the Year” multiple times by the World Safety Organization for his work in the industry.
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-307-2401.