Resident calls a foul park's hoops disappear Outsiders had taken over the courts BALTIMORE COUNTY

June 25, 1993|By Ed Brandt | Ed Brandt,Staff Writer

It's tough to slam dunk without a basketball hoop, but that's the situation at Highland Park -- and no one is happy about it.

Neighbors became so upset after a group of older outsiders took over the basketball courts at the popular community park that one of the residents took down the hoops -- ending the games for everyone.

The park, at Joppa Road and Central Avenue in Towson, is operated by the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks. Besides two basketball courts, there are two ball fields and a tot lot.

The park is a favorite of neighborhood children and adults -- and not long ago was adopted by a group of young adults from outside the neighborhood.

Residents say the group was frequently loud and disorderly. But according to Don Wright, president of the West Towson Civic League, the last straw was an incident on May 1 in which one player with a gun chased another player through the park.

One nearby resident took matters into his own hands, and the hoops disappeared.

"It was an unfortunate, isolated incident, but one of the residents just got tired of the whole situation," Mr. Wright said. "Right now we're in a cooling down period, but the hoops will eventually go back up."

"We also have a terrible parking problem," Mr. Wright said, "and there was a lot of double parking. We have a committee working on rules of conduct for the park, which will be posted."

Wayne Harman, the county's recreation and parks director, said: "There's been a continuing problem there and at other park locations, where a large group of players create a disturbance, curse and litter, and upset area residents.

"We've taken some of the hoops down ourselves," he said.

Bob Nakashima, a recreation department supervisor, said that two days after the gun incident, he received a call from a resident who told him there was trouble there.

"But someone took the hoops down before we could respond," '' he said.

The association is now working with recreation officials and police to spruce up the park and keep order.

When will the hoops go back up?

"We'll probably put the lower one up first for elementary school children, and then a higher one," Mr. Wright said. "We'll see after that."

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