int_logo.gif int_hdr_photo.jpg

News

Fairlawn face-lift debated

Waterbury Republican-American, Wednesday, August 10, 2005
by Joe Palladino

It has come down to this; a disagreement over a basketball court.

Some folks don't want one. Other folks do. Let the debate begin.

Fairlawn Park is the quintessential neighborhood park. Barely more than an acre, it is a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of space. There is a basketball court there, and a playground. It is a space designed for a neighborhood.

Fairlawn is set to receive a face-lift of approximately $200,000. The East End Community Club has set up meetings where residents compiled a list of ideas for the park. They'd like a playscape, a spraypool, a fountain, repairs to fences and sidewalks, better lighting and more effective patrolling of the park.

Nowhere on the list turned in to the Park Board is there mention of a basketball court.

The neighbors are tired of crime and vandalism at the park. When the sun sets all manner of unlawful activities takes place. They see basketball as part of the problem. They fear that the park has become a basketball destination, a destination for undesirables.

They want the renovation on a scale to fit the space. In other words, small. That means no basketball court. You can appreciate the thinking. If the play area is designed for little ones, the big ones will take their ball and their mischief and go somewhere else.

Tuesday night the Park Board heard from the other side. The basketball players gave their reply. Led by former Fairlawn resident and city basketball star, and a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, attorney Joe Summa has volunteered to serve as an advocate for the basketball players who use the park. Summa delivered more than 50 signed petitions to the park commissioners, from both players and neighbors. They wish for the court to stay.

Now that the two sides have presented their ideas, it is time for an official jump-ball. That comes Sept 6., the next meeting of the Park Board. Anticipating a passionate gathering, the board will suspend the usual meeting of the greens committee and allow the recreation committee a full hour, from 5-6 p.m., so that the citizens can have their say.

Waterburians are blessed to have the park system we do. Every neighborhood has its space. Virtually ever kid in town can walk to a recreational site. It was done for a reason. A park is a good place for kids. A park attracts the active and the motivated, the next wave of community leaders. A park is where kids go to play and grow and learn.

In short, the kids on court are at the opposite end of the behavioral spectrum from the thugs. Good parks make good neighbors, I thought, and good parks grow good kids.

If they didn't why would we build them?

Sports are part of the solution. It gives kids a reason to be something other than a burden on society. But now, for the first time in my recollection, we think a sport, basketball, is part of the problem.

No it isn't, not now, not ever.

Anyone who lives alongside or near a city park knows the problem, and I am in that category. We want thugs and punks out of our neighborhoods. But someone will have to explain to me in greater detail how the removal of a basketball court achieves that goal.

Does basketball bring trouble to Fairlawn? Is the basketball court to blame? Hardly. There are many other social forces at work. The game has nothing to do with it.

The Park Board has not picked a final design for Fairlawn Park. They may lack the funds to repair the court. An economic decision we can live with. A decision based on the premise that a basketball court is the root cause of delinquency is another matter.

Yes it is a small park, but big things can happen in small spaces, there is room to romp, room to climb, room to splash, and even room to shoot some hoops.

A basketball court is not a villain, and the kids who play on it are not the problem.

Back to top

hp_hdr_news.gif
Kingz are Fairlawn Kings With hard work and persistence, anything is possible. With help from a few dedicated members of the community, a motivated group of Waterbury kids were able to turn their fading dreams into a vibrant reality.
>>more
Waterbury park gets boost from technology Internet technology allows curious kids and concerned parents a sneak peek into what is going on at Fairlawn Park - any time of day. Technology donated by local companies is just one of the many tactics used to clean up the park.
>>more
U-15 Nutmeg Games Champions The Connecticut Kingz 15-under team won the gold medal at the 2006 Nutmeg State Games! The Kingz beat the Bridgeport-based Connecticut Future Stars 54-51 in an intense and exciting overtime game.
>>more
hp_hdr_calendar.gif
Coming Soon - Open gym periods at Waterbury ARC
Spring 2007 - Park Opens
May 2007 - T-Shirts and pledge sign ups for Fairlawn Park Basketball Association
View the CT Kingz Schedule
hp_hdr_photogallery.gif
clear.gif
thmb_1.gif thmb_2.gif thmb_3.gif
clear.gif

News | Photo Gallery | Pledge | About Us | Contact Us | Sponsors | Web Cam | Home

Site designed by WORX. Copyright ® 2015 Fairlawn Park. All Rights Reserved.