2017-06-29 / Front Page

Councilors Ask That Hoops Be Put Back Up

Brooke Constance White

Less than 24 hours after community members voiced their concerns about the basketball hoops being taken down at the Pell Elementary School for the summer during the city council meeting Wednesday night, Councilor Susan Taylor said the hoops, which were mistakenly taken down Thursday, will be going back up and will remain up for the foreseeable future.

The year-long issue regarding children and young adults using the school’s playground and basketball courts after hours came to a head in the last couple weeks after park neighbors complained again that that their quality of life has been affected because of the noise from the courts and some of the vulgar language and inappropriate behavior they had witnessed.

Taylor said she’s confident that there is a solution that addresses the issue of neighbors wanting to enjoy their homes and backyards and families wanting to enjoy the playground and courts. From her perspective, it’s about quality of life for everyone.

“We are grateful to the community for starting this discussion as it’s a discussion that has been needed for a long time,” Taylor said. “The city is happy to be addressing this issue of providing meaningful recreation opportunities for our kids. There’s a solution that addresses everyones concerns and if we’re talking to each other we’ll figure it out.”

She said there will be a community meeting scheduled to discuss recreation on the north side of the city in the coming days.

“The city is committed to finding a more comprehensive solution because we know that there needs to be more basketball courts available for kids who live on the north side,” she said. “Ultimately our goal will be to have functional basketball courts in three locations, so that’s our priority.”

Newport City Mayor Harry Winthrop said that taking the hoops down was not an optimal solution to him and that he strongly supports finding a solution that involves keeping the hoops up for the community to use while also dealing with the issues of the park being used after hours. If it’s an enforcement issue, he said, it could potentially be handled by having police officers go by the park more regularly.

“The last thing we need to do is take recreation facilities away from residents. If anything, we need more facilities and there are other options to controlling the situation rather than taking the hoops down,” he said. “We’re going to look at additional areas to create more recreational facilities because the best thing to do is keep our students and young adults occupied during the summer.”

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