Neighbors reacting to Joe E. Brown park comments, looking for solutions

Neighbors reacting to Joe E. Brown park comments, looking for solutions
(Source: WTOL)

. - Controversial comments from a city employee two weeks ago, are still stirring up conversation.

Neighbors from North Toledo met at the Lagrange Street Library Branch, down the street from Joe E. Brown Park on Monday night.

The Block Watch meeting was discussing what is happening with the park following a city employee's comment saying basketball "draws a crowd unworthy of the park".

Some residents said they are still upset by the comments, but are now looking for solutions.

"There is no need for an apology here, all that happened was a revelation of how it really happened, the truth came out," said Felissa Green, who lives close to the park.

Green was one of the many members of the community at the meeting. She revealed she doesn't have any ill feelings, but, wants to start a discussion.

"There is definitely a need for basketball, and for our kids to get outside," said Green.

"Basketball is a way of life for our young kids, that's for black, orange, green, everybody," said Councilwoman Yvonne Harper.

Four Toledo City Council members were sitting in on the meeting, Peter Ujvagi, Gary Johnson, Dr. Cecelia Adams and also Harper, whose district houses the park.

"I know why all of you guys are here, you want to know that we've got it worked out, we've got it worked out just a little," admitted Harper.

The city is forming a recreation task force, and are planning on discussing all of the amenities are each park throughout the city. They're expected to meet Wednesday, March 21st, with members from across the community.

But, even the neighbors in favor of a basketball court admit, they know basketball courts can cause trouble.

"I have the same concerns about the intensity, I'll call it, that basketball as a sport might bring about, but what are we going to do about that," said Green.

Councilwoman Dr. Cecelia Adams said then it's a matter of police presence at the parks.

At the end of the day, some neighbors agree the park won't be a fail without the court, but it isn't ideal.

"I wouldn't feel as good about it, I think people would still come to enjoy it, but it would have a stain on it for me," said Green.

Block Watch Leader Kathleen Johnson says kids are playing basketball in the street as it is, and thinks a court would help with safety.

"Problems are going to exist no matter what they are doing at the parks, so a basketball court couldn't hurt," said Johnson.

The Mayor's office said they are following through with their promise of sensitivity training following the city employee's comments.

There are 70 employees who are expected to take part including directors, commissioners, managers, and administrators.

As far as the basketball court, the administration said they'll continue exploring the option.

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