That's not a lot to ask, especially since basketball-league organizers said the old setup was removed by the city's Parks & Recreation Department in April 2012. Yeah, you read that right: 2012.
The kids have been making do with one hoop. But wouldn't it be nice if kids in the city weren't always expected to just make do?
All that the organizers of Heritage Park's basketball league have wanted these past 14 months is for the city to replace the basketball standard that was removed, so that their kids could play fullcourt ball again.
But for more than a year, Vernon Ray and Richard Powell have had to beg, harangue and pressure the Parks & Rec Department to get any answers, they said.
For a long time, they said, their calls went unanswered. After Councilwoman Cindy Bass stepped in, they finally got a response. But until the other day, it was the same one every time they called: two weeks.
Like clockwork, they said, every two weeks they were told they'd get that replacement hoop in . . . another two weeks - until, finally, this week they were told they soon would get not only a new setup, but a whole new court.
Tom Dignam, the Parks & Recreation district program manager for the area, said the basketball standard was removed for safety reasons.
In Dignam's defense, he's new to the position and the basketball-league organizers said he's been refreshingly responsive to their requests. He was to me as well.
Dignam said the project had to be put out to bid - it's not something Parks & Recreation employees do. And although he understands the frustrations, he said "the process takes time."
Fair enough, but I'm convinced that if city officials would just keep residents in the loop, there wouldn't be so much festering frustration in this city.
And although I'm glad that it looks as if the kids finally will get to play ball, you'll forgive me if I suggest that they wait to celebrate until the park starts to get its fair share of consistent care.
It doesn't take a lot to see that not every one of the city's 75 neighborhood parks is treated or maintained the same.
And by the looks of it, Heritage Park is way low on the priority list.
In 2007, it took a scathing report by Fox 29's Jeff Cole about the dismal conditions of the park for the city to respond.
Back then, trash and drug bags littered the ground. Outdoor lights were busted. Swings were missing or broken. Then-Recreation Commissioner Victor Richard apologized for the conditions, and ordered an overnight overhaul of the park.
The park isn't in as tough shape now, but it's not great, either. Not that long ago, Councilwoman Bass' office had to urge Parks & Rec to go out and clean up the park, including removal of an abandoned van.
"I am very pleased that we were able to help the neighbors of Heritage Park with recent cleanings and the installation of the long-missing basketball hoops," she said.
"It is imperative that we maintain our commitment to keeping them functional, clean and safe."
When I stopped by the park the other day, kids were waiting their turn to use the one hoop as organizers looked on.
"That's just not right," Ray said. "It's not fair to do that to kids."
A few days later, Ray was excited to hear that a crew likely would start working on the court tomorrow.
I was excited, too. Until I asked how long it would take to have the brand-new court installed, and got a familiar-sounding response.
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