Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Forest Park bans kids playing on street

Basketball hoops, skating ramps outlawed

By Susan Vela svela@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FOREST PARK - Council members returned Monday from summer recess and approved legislation that establishes boundaries for children at play.

        Voting 6-0, council members approved an ordinance that bans basketball hoops, skating ramps and other athletic equipment from the public right-of-way. That includes sidewalks and cul-de-sac streets where groups of as many as 30 children have occasionally chosen to practice their jump shots.

        Once a warning is issued, violators will have 24 hours to remove the athletic equipment or risk being charged with a minor misdemeanor and fines of up to $100 in Forest Park's Mayor Court.

        “It's a safety issue. I really feel that the basketball hoops do not belong in the street and the thoroughfare of traffic,” councilwoman Clara Pugh said. “We have quite a few parks. It's not as though there's no other place for the youth in our community to have sports activities.”

        Residents have contacted Councilwoman Tara Walton twice this summer because they arrived home from work and discovered a crowd of children in their driveway.

        The youngsters “basically were blocking their ability to get into their own driveway. That shouldn't be a problem,” she said.

        City administrators began working on the amendment when the 2002 school year ended. In the past, they asked children - or their parents - to remove unwanted equipment from the public right-of-way and compliance was the norm.

        But city administrators wanted to set clear parameters in case any court battles ensue.

        “We need clear guidelines and regulations,” City Manager Ray Hodges said. “For (some) residents, it does disrupt the neighborhood.”


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