Council adopts new basketball court rules

by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor

Rogers City council members are trying to curtail profanity and loud music at the Lakeside Park basketball court with the approval of new rules of conduct.

The courts will be open from 10 a.m. until 10:15 p.m., when light programs goes off. Off-season hours will be 10 a.m. to dusk.

A sign is going in to replace the one faded to include the new hours, “And indicates that the court is part of a family park located near a residential neighborhood; please be courteous and refrain from shouting, profanity and loud music.”

Council conducted a workshop Tuesday (July 19) prior to the regular meeting with several residents in attendance providing input. Specifics of the proposal were presented at a recent meeting.

During the workshop, city manager Hefele said one of the shorter dunk rims and the broken backboard were already removed. It was removed with no plans of replacing.

Rogers City city manager Joe Hefele went over the details of the new rules for the Lakeside Park basketball court during the July 19 council workshop. (Photo by Peter Jakey)
Rogers City city manager Joe Hefele went over the details of the new rules for the Lakeside Park basketball court during the July 19 council workshop. (Photo by Peter Jakey)

However, the other shorter backboard and rim is still up but broken and will be replaced with a more sturdy rim instead of a breakaway rim.

“We talked about youth using the courts, policing themselves,” said Hefele. “That was discussed at great length during the last workshop. If the rules are ignored and there is loud, obscene music, profanity, etc. the city can close the courts for a week, two weeks to make a point.

“You do run into freedom of speech issues with things like music and language,” said Hefele. “There were some simplistic views, where, if someone swears we can pick them up and haul them off to jail. It is not remotely that simple.”

The charter allows Hefele to close the courts, but more than likely, would not do so without input from staff and department heads.

“My expectation on how something like that would play out is the chief of police would come to me, close my office door and say, Joe, we have talked to them and nothing seems to be working, I am going to ask you to post this as closed for the next two weeks. More often than not, I am going to support staff,” said Hefele.

The recommendation to council is to have the parks and recreation committee work on a vision for the basketball courts with the goal of submitting a grant application to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources during the next round of applications this March.

“We could look at installing some type of hedge row on the street side to deflect noise.” Additionally, there are playing surfaces, backboards and rims that create less noise.

“I am hearing, since this first came up, it’s gotten better, which is good, because they could have went the other way and done the, we’ll show you thing,” said Hefele. “I am glad to hear it is not going in that direction.”

IN OTHER BUSINESS:

Council canceled the Carmeuse Lime & Stone public hearing for a proposed tax abatement.

“I still do not have the signed application and accompanying paperwork necessary to conduct such a hearing,” said Hefele.

Hefele believes the company needs more time.

“They had a consultant that was working on it…and some medical issues with family members and had to step aside. Now company personnel are trying to pick up the ball and figure out where things stand.”

The city cannot do anything without a signed application.

The annual Nautical Festival park curfew will be imposed for the purpose of protecting public property and the safety, health and welfare of the public.

It closes Little League Park Aug. 4 and 5 from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.; Seagull Point Park, Lakeside Park, North Shore Park, Sports Park and Westminster Park, Aug. 5 and 6 from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.

No person shall loiter or remain in these parks during those hours.

Council will conducted a workshop with the parks and recreation committee to go over the details of the potential transfer of ownership of Herman Vogler Recreation Area to the city. It will be Aug. 8 at 5:30 p.m.