Streetball May Become Legal In Gulfport Again - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/01/05

Streetball May Become Legal In Gulfport Again

It may soon be legal again to shoot hoops on Gulfport streets. Since June, anyone caught playing games in the street or on the sidewalk could be charged with a misdemeanor.

At Tuesday's city council meeting, Neil Resh of Ward Six says he plans to present a resolution to repeal the ordinance. Some residents say the law should be changed or, at the very least, some exceptions should be made.

For the past 20 years, Larry Bryant's basketball goal has been a gathering place for neighborhood children. He says his newest neighbors want to continue the tradition.

"They came over and asked me if they could play on it," said Bryant. "I said, 'As far as nobody comes over and says anything, that's fine with me.'"

Bryant's concern is that right now playing games on streets and sidewalks is against the law in Gulfport. No one is allowed to play in the street and it doesn't matter whether they live on a busy road or on a dead end.

"It's crazy, especially with me living on a cul-de-sac. You see there are three basketball goals out here. I don't see anything wrong it," Pamela Banks said.

The council member asking the law against playing in the street be changed says it's unfair for children in Orange Grove who have few nearby recreational opportunities. Recently, a park did open in the area, but neighbors say their children are safer playing in the dead end streets than walking to the park.

"They do have a park over here, but for the kids to cross over Dedeaux Road at certain times of day, it's a lot of traffic," said Banks. "I don't get this law."

Until the law is changed, Bryant says he's considering ending two decades of childhood fun.

"It would definitely be a shame to take it down," he said.

The ordinance was passed by the previous city council because of public safety concerns. Tuesday's meeting is set for 2:30 in the afternoon.

by Danielle Thomas

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