Parents upset over no bathrooms or water fountains at local basketball court

Photo provided by staff.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 6:00am

Some people living in the Capital View neighborhood in Port Allen residents are crying foul over the conditions at one of the area’s basketball courts. There aren't any water fountains or restrooms. They don’t think it’s fair and are demanding change.

“In my head it's not about the materials it's about the people and the kids to make sure they are in good health. It's just very disappointing,” Brandon Brown, Port Allen City Councilman, explained.

When temperatures go up basketball players have a hard time getting a game going. There are no bathroom, water fountain, or shade.

“You know they are going to get thirsty,” Isiah Jackson, who lives across from the court, described. “They are going to have to use the rest room. Every kid can't make it home, before he has to use the restroom on himself unfortunately.”

Adults near the courts think it’s a safety issue.

"By the time they make it home they are going to pass out," Tonya Harmason, said.

Anatole Vincent, who runs the West Baton Rouge Parish Recreation Department, said the parish maintains the 14th street court itself. Vincent described before he took off, the city of Port Allen and the parish came to an agreement to create the courts. He said city leaders at that time said the bathrooms are unnecessary, because the court is close to peoples homes. Also, he said the parish provides basketball courts with bathrooms a few blocks away at William and Lee Park in Port Allen

People who use the court say that's not ok.

"I understand that it's a community park and with that being said they should be able to walk home to get water or bathroom, which with other parks in the city that's not the case," Brown stated.

Residents said other parish run parks, like the 6th Street tennis complex, have better amenities like lights, bathrooms, and shade.

Vincent said the parish installed bathrooms at the tennis court because there were no nearby parks for patrons to use the facility in.

“It's like they have restrooms. They have water. They have everything that they need. With these kids being here in our community thee kids are out here suffering every day,” Harmason, stated. "Angry, it makes me feel angry. Simply because why can't we have the same amenities they have. "

People who use the 14th Street court say they just want the same consideration.

“We've drawn a line in the and between our children,” Jackson said. “We have a problem with that. Most people have a problem with that. They really do.”

Vincent explained the parish did repave the court in the spring.

Brown says that’s not enough: “Lipstick on a pig and it's still a pig. There are still some things that should be taken care of.”

Vincent explained the department and parish are considering more upgrades for the court. He explained they could install benches, shade areas, lights, and a water fountain. If approved the changes could come as soon as January 2014.
  

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