Park District of Oak Park extends basketball hours

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By Igor Studenkov

Contributing Reporter

Several years ago, the Park District of Oak Park gradually took down basketball hoops from all of its outdoor basketball courts, only putting them up for two to three hours a day.

This was originally done in response to resident concerns about the kind of crowd the basketball courts attracted after hours. But as the park district gathered resident input for a feasibility study, one of the comments it got was that Oak Parkers wanted the basketball hoops to stay up for longer.

After studying the issue, park district Executive Director Jan Arnold decided to allow the hoops to stay up between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. while still having the staff take the hoops down at night.

According to the park district's website, basketball hoops have been installed at two outdoor courts – one in Longfellow Park and one in Stevenson Park.

In an April 19 interview with Wednesday Journal, Arnold said that the current policy was a direct result of residents' comments.

"When we were doing a feasibility study, some community members said, 'Why were you taking basketball courts?" she recalled.

Arnold, who became the director in August 2012, said that the removal of the hoops predated her tenure, so decided to investigate.

"My understanding is that, in the past, there's been some concerns in regards to people [using them] on the off hours," Arnold said, adding that there were "incidents" a few years ago

She and the other officials talked to the police, school officials and the village. Based on what they heard, they decided to start putting up hoops at 8 a.m. and leaving them up for the next 12 hours.

The new policy has been in place for the past two years, Arnold said. So far, there have been no issues.

-          Igor Studenkov

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