WM city council debates basketball goals
Council asks residents to keep portable hoops off streets, considers fines
By DON WILBURN
Is playing basketball on city streets a nuisance or a safety issue? Maybe so, as the issue came up during the most recent West Memphis Police Commission meeting, held this past Monday.
Longtime City Councilwoman Lorraine Mohammed was named Chairperson for the year, and the subject of the most prominent debate with Mohammed at the helm was indeed basketball – speci_cally portable hoops on city streets.
If you are your children have the habit of playing a few pickup games in the street, suf_ce it to say that that may all be coming to an end as commission members expressed concerns from residents that it has become somewhat of a public nuisance.
Residents have complained that it is not so much that the street games impede traf_c as most they happen in residential neighborhoods with coves and less busy streets but that many of the games go late into the night, are often very noisy, laced with profanity/yelling and sometimes accompanies damage occurring to vehicles and
See BASKETBALL, page A2
One of the “offending” portable goals the city says should be kept in driveways and not on the streets.
File photo BASKETBALL
From page A1
Council members also said that it is not only the children and adolescents that are the problem but as the afternoon turns to night and attracts an older crowd it also attracts, on occasion, violence and drugs.
As the debate of a reasonable solution wore on with talk of curfews, posting signs and even ning parents, Mayor Marco McClendon, was quick to defend the youth of West Memphis, rst reiterating that drugs were not the principle issue among the children and also saying that since West Memphis had already taken down the goals at the public parks, for similar reasons cited above, asked where the kids were supposed to go.
It was to be Captain Mose Walker of the WMPD who suggested a lighter approach would be more appropriate and that instead of going directly to making a new city ordinance and ning residents right off, that an effort should be made to not only talk with parents but also inform the public and see if that might help resolve the issue.
The commission agreed – for now.
The commission did remind residents that portable basketball goals should not brought into the streets under any circumstances and they should only be used in yards and driveways, This is a common ordinance enforced in many cities not only in Arkansas but in communities around the nation, so the move would not at all be out of the ordinary.
One West Memphis resident who wished not to be named feared that simply moving the goals is not a solution simply due to the physics of it, “The hoops only work if they are on level ground” they said “Balls don’t bounce on grass.”
He also noted that playing basketball is “a good thing to get kids away from their phones. My grandkids are nearly obese.”
At least one resident was for the ban on street hoops.
“Why can’t they just go to the numerous Boys & Girls Clubs around town?” asked Jane Roland. “That’s what they are there for.”