Full court basketball will continue to be played at Little Wolfe Park for the foreseeable future following the Oak Lawn Park Board’s delay on a proposal to remove one of the hoops.
The proposal was talked about in April, and expected to appear on the board’s May agenda. Now the board is deferring the matter, saying more time and consideration is needed before a decision is made.
This issue goes back several months. Last summer, a group of residents from the neighborhood adjacent to Little Wolfe Park attended two park board meetings to protest what they described as inappropriate behavior on the part of some basketball players.
Unfortunately, phases such as “players from outside the community” were bandied about, which brought racism into the conversation. Was players’ behavior the problem or the color of their skin?
Trustee Carol Quinlan, a strong opponent of the full-court games, said last week that the issue is not about race, though she has on more than occasion pointed out that some players are not from Oak Lawn.
Park Commissioner Gary Callahan and others have noted that Oak Lawn parks are not open exclusively to village residents. Residents who live near Little Wolfe will have to accept that fact. They do not live in a gated community. Callahan also rightly maintained that the park district would rather not reduce recreational opportunities.
But residents who live near the park deserve a final decision on the future of the basketball court. The five commissioners should either decide to leave the court as is, remove one of the hoops or come up with another solution that is agreeable to all. Perhaps increased police presence in the area is the answer.
However, maintaining that more time and study is needed is disingenuous. Residents deserve a decision whether or not they with agree with it.