PORTERDALE - Despite comments last week from two residents of the Porterdale Mill Lofts, City Council members stood by their earlier decision to move a basketball goal from B.C. Crowell Park to a site adjacent to City Hall.
The council had voted earlier this month to move the basketball goal away from the picnic pavilion and children's playground due to problems with ball players lying on the picnic tables and using obscene language in the presence of children.
Councilman Mike Harper first brought up the subject at the Nov. 3 City Council meeting when he said that some people were misusing the picnic tables. After some discussion, Harper made a motion to move the goal to a grassy area beside City Hall. The motion was seconded by Councilman Robert Foxworth and approved by a vote of 3-1, with Councilwoman Arline Chapman dissenting.
The issue arose again at the council's Nov. 19 meeting when two residents spoke out against moving the goal and in support of promoting recreational activities in the town.
"We as a community need to promote wholesome leisure time because the youth of today are the future of tomorrow," said Dan Marineau.
Resident David Stepp added that the basketball goal and court provide a way for residents to reduce stress and draw potential customers to Porterdale businesses. He noted that the goal was located within 100 yards of the Porterdale police and fire stations.
Harper reiterated that he first asked that the goal be moved because "hot and sweaty people were lying on the picnic tables."
"It's not targeting nobody; it's making it where other people in Porterdale can use the recreation area," Harper said.
Mayor Bobby Hamby told residents present at the meeting that B.C. Crowell Park was built for small children and families. The basketball goal was added later. Some basketball players who were using the goal had created an atmosphere where most people don't want to take their children, Hamby said.
"We've lost the ability to use B.C. Crowell Park the way it was intended," he said.
Chapman said she felt putting the goal in a grassy area was wrong and that inappropriate behavior at the park should be handled by the Police Department.
"I feel very strongly that recreation for children in Porterdale is limited," she said.
Hamby said the area beside City Hall would be visible. Placing the goal there would free up the park area for families, he added.
"I've been up there at the fire station and heard the language coming off that basketball court, and it's appalling," he said.
Alice Queen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.