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Hoops come down at Brand Park

City takes a temporary step, will see what park users think of the move.

July 25, 2007|By Jason Wells

NORTHWEST GLENDALE — City crews cut down the basketball hoops at Brand Park Thursday morning, just two days after neighbors of the park demanded the City Council order the "crime magnets" removed.

"This is just an example that when the city needs to move quickly, they can," said resident Tammi Relyea, who spoke at Tuesday's City Council meeting as a board member of the Northwest Glendale Homeowner's Assn.

About a half dozen of her peers lined up at the podium Tuesday night and chided the city for allowing graffiti and crime to become rampant in the park for far too long.

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"They stood up to the occasion and did the right thing," Relyea said. "We're very thrilled."

The basketball courts, located on the far east end of the park, have been a magnet for crime and a nuisance for neighbors bordering the park's edge, said Robert Mulder, whose home sits just behind the courts.

Nearby residents are using a June 26 non-injury drive-by shooting in the park, in which no one was hit, as a way to draw attention to what they say is the park's downward spiral.

Two men have been arrested in connection with the shooting.

Almost immediately after the incident, the city announced a list of short- and long-term changes for the park, including stationing a city employee at the park's Grandview Avenue entrance from 2 to 10 p.m. every day.

Police have stepped up patrols of the area and park officials are looking at more permanent changes, like closing down the west entrance/exit to keep better tabs on park users.

"We heard the concerns of the neighborhood," city parks director George Chapjian said.

Crews have also barricaded the east parking lot, which sits atop a small hill behind the basketball courts. Neighbors and police contend criminals can spot authorities well in advance from the hilltop lot.

But the removal of the basketball hoops is less permanent than it may seem.

The city may reinstall brand new backboards and hoops if community support pops up, Chapjian said.

But for the next two to four weeks, the city will monitor how the absence of the hoops affects the park, he added.

"We thought it best to see what the impact would be," he said.

Some park neighbors see the move as a start, not an end.

Amiee Klem, who is also a board member for the homeowner's association and who spoke at the City Council on Tuesday, said the city's response is commendable, but more needs to be done.

"If the basketball courts were the only problem, that would be a really big step, but it's not," she said.

She would like to see a police substation installed, since the park is much more than just green space. It also encompasses a library, historic site, baseball and soccer fields and a community center.

"I think it would help in every aspect," she said.

Park officials will meet with the homeowner's association Monday to discuss long-term goals and solutions for the park, Relyea said.


  • JASON WELLS covers public safety and the courts. He may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at jason.wellslatimes.com.

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