Friday, July 06, 2001

No-hoops law crashes boards in streets of Woodford County

The Associated Press

        VERSAILLES, Ky. — A new ordinance in Woodford County has some officials and residents torn over a longstanding Kentucky summer pastime: street basketball.

        The new law, enacted last week by the fiscal court, prohibits putting a basketball goal on a county road or street.

[photo] A new law in Woodford County prohibits basketball goals next to streets, such as this portable one in The Colony subdivision in Versailles.
(Associated Press photo)
| ZOOM |
        That includes the patch of ground between the sidewalk and the street, or, in residential areas without sidewalks, a 30-foot right of way.

        Violators face a fine of up to $250 plus court costs — and in second and subsequent offenses, 90 days in jail.

        Woodford Judge-executive Joe Gormley and other county officials say they took complaints from people who were concerned that children would be struck by a car if something wasn't done to control portable basketball goals that are common in many subdivisions.

        “In some cases, the things are actually set in concrete on the curb, which is clearly county right of way,” Mr. Gormley said.

        The ordinance calls for the county to remove those permanent goals and then bill the owner for payment within 30 days.

        Fiscal court Magistrate Tommy Turner said he doesn't see why anyone would be against an ordinance designed to protect children.

        “If you had a child, you wouldn't want them playing out in the street, would you?” Mr. Turner said.

        But residents such as Jason Hinkle, 20, say the real problem is better enforcement against speeding motorists who should be on the lookout for kids.

        Mr. Hinkle has a basketball goal right on the curb, and he said as many as six youths at one time will be playing around it.

        Woodford County Attorney Alan George said the likelihood of someone actually paying a fine was small, given that violators get 10 days' written notice to remove the goal from the road or right of way.

        “It would be a rare case for somebody to actually be cited,” Mr. George said.


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