Behind hoop removal

This letter is written to commend the decision to remove the basketball standards from Memorial Park. My husband’s parents purchased a home bordering on Memorial Park in 1941. We inherited that house when his parents died in 1981. My husband, who was born in 1948, has closely observed the changing nature of the park over his lifetime. The park was designed for children and families. It was never intended to be a recreation area for teens and young adults.

Since the basketball standards were installed, that area of the park and its appropriateness for young children has gone into steady and dramatic decline. As a youngster, my husband walked to and played in the park without parental supervision, as did our three children decades later. I worked there as a playground supervisor in the late ’60s and had no concerns regarding safety and atmosphere. In recent years, the foul language, inappropriate behavior, threats and trash have led us to not even take our grandchildren to the park when the basketball courts were in use.

The pickle ball, hopscotch and 4-square courts are far better, and a more child-friendly use of the park. Lowered nets enable children to play volleyball, tennis, badminton or other games of their own invention. On June 9 we observed a group of children happily playing a game on the pickle ball court that involved a bouncing ball over the net between “teams” on either side.

If there is a need for teen and adult courts, build them away from the childrens’ playground. My husband and I are delighted to have Memorial Park returned to a place where parents and grandparents will be far less likely to have children witness behaviors and hear coarse language they would not want those children to mimic or repeat. The park is no longer littered with trash that when frequently dropped at the site of the former basketball courts, routinely found its way to the children’s area.

The removal of those basketball standards, which were not in the park’s original design, nor early decades, has added value to the community and enhanced the outdoor play experiences for young children.

Dorothy Dewees Mangle