"We've had a lot less problems with the court down," said Norbert Style, who lives next to the park. "We don't see as many fights, there's less drug and alcohol abuse, less graffiti, less traffic and less noise.
"This area is a lot more peaceful now, everybody likes to live in a peaceful neighborhood."
Style, who has appeared before the council several times in opposition to bringing back basketball courts, said he has been in talks with city officials about other uses for the park.
"I'm hoping that they don't erect the basketball court," he said. "I gave them suggestions on possibly placing a tennis court there or a picnic area."
The idea of creating a picnic area will also be voted on tonight.
"Carr Park is an interesting issue where the basketball courts seem to be an item of controversy," Mayor Ara Najarian said. "We've heard some who don't like the noise issues and others have said they would like the basketball court.
"My opinion is that we need to provide as many recreational facilities as possible but take steps to make sure it does not become a magnet for any crime or mischief."
Figures in a city staff report show that the city has $300,000 for proposed improvements to the park, of which $100,000 comes from the 2004 state Land and Water Conservation fund and $200,000 from State Proposition 12, which provides funds to restore parks and wilderness area.
Neighbor John Kima just wants to see something done to preserve the park in its present state, and perhaps beef up security.
"I watched it go from a gangbang [area] to a place where kids are playing with their tricycles," he said.
Like Style, Kima said that since the court was removed, he has seen a decrease in suspicious activity, and he hopes something is done to keep things that way.
But his overall concern is that the council increase security at the park.
Last Friday, both Carr Park and nearby Glendale High School were heavily tagged with graffiti, he said. He was also concerned about cars that drive through and around the park while young children are playing.
"Somebody's going to get hurt or somebody's going to get killed," he said. "We're just asking for some help."
Any improvements to security would come at an additional cost, the staff report said.
Partially due to neighbors' concerns, the council will also vote whether to enact some security measures such as increasing lighting, closing the park at an earlier hour and heightening the fence around the park.
"I am very interested in what the immediate neighbors are saying and I'm anxious to hear more input," Councilman John Drayman said. "That is what is going to drive any decision I have on it."
ROBERT S. HONG covers City Hall. He may be reached at (818) 637-3235 or by e-mail at robert.honglatimes.com.