The Maplewood Recreation Advisory Committee (RAC) will host two meetings to invite community feedback about placing a basketball court in DeHart Park on Burnett Avenue.
Previously the Township had considered returning a basketball court to Maplecrest Park.
“Two years ago it was proposed for Maplecrest,” wrote RAC member Heather Joy on Facebook. “The RAC held meetings. We recommended proceeding with some tweaks. The [Township Committee] rejected our recommendation and wants to do it at DeHart instead, where the rink currently is.”
At a meeting in July 2016, Maplecrest neighbors voiced tentative support for bringing a court back to that park — if it could be placed away from homes and be monitored.
Maplewood Police at that meeting assured residents that there had been little trouble reported at the basketball courts at Memorial Park or at the skateboard park at Maplecrest. “We are not getting a lot of calls,” said Sgt. Joseph Guglielmo.
Reached for comment, Mayor Vic DeLuca explained, “We cannot fit a regulation size court in Maplecrest. Taking one tennis court did not work and another area near the field and playground was just not large enough.”
Said Maplewood Township Committee and RAC liaison Greg Lembrich, “From my perspective, I just want to build another court in town. I was fine with Maplecrest, and I would be fine with DeHart. The Recreation Department and the coaches who run our local rec teams have said they prefer the DeHart location because it will be easier to run basketball programming at that location given the proximity to the community center and accessibility of restrooms nearby in the park. I would just like to be able to move forward somewhere so that we can have a second location for basketball in our parks.”
“The Township really wants to provide another basketball court in town, and for that court to also be regulation in size (NCAA or NBA) so it can be better utilized,” added Township Committee member Nancy Adams. “The meetings are to get input from the neighbors adjacent to DeHart Park on the concept and location being proposed. Unfortunately, Maplewood is very crowded and our parks are full of many types of recreational courts and fields, so we are limited by where we can locate a regulation-sized court. We hope to figure out something that will make everyone happy and provide this much-needed recreational resource for our residents.”
The flier for the DeHart meetings reads as follows: “Please join us to weigh in on the plans. These meetings will allow residents to hear about the potential options and provide feedback on which is most desirable and will be most utilized.”
Residents can email the RAC with comments, questions or concerns at [email protected]
The meetings will take place:
- Thursday, October 11, 7 p.m. at DeHart Community Center, 120 Burnett Avenue
- Thursday, November 15, 7 p.m. at Hilton Branch of the Maplewood Library, 1688 Springfield Avenue