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Friday, July 07, 2017

Fed Ed Removes Basketball Rims at Andre Reed Park



If there's one thing I love more than anything else about Allentown, it's Summer League basketball. Last night, teams played indoors because of threatening weather. I sat next to a New Jersey couple who have been coming for years. They see at least six games every week, and are on a first name basis with many of the players. There's no entrance fee and parking is free, so it's a great melting pot. You can see prominent attorneys like zoning genius Bill Malkames sitting and chatting amiably with a garbageman. Ray O'Connell is there a few days every summer, especially if the Canaries are playing. Pretty young girls flirt with the players between games. It's a wonderful opportunity, not just for the kids, but for the entire community to come out and support their teams in a relaxed atmosphere. And the games? They might actually be better than the ones played during the regular season.

Allentown does have minor league hockey and baseball, and those venues do attract crowds. But it is mostly from out-of-town. Let's face it, inner city people have little interest in hockey. Allentown is primarily a basketball town. It's an exciting game and costs next to nothing. The kids start early, when they are five or six. If there was less transiency, both Allen and Dieruff would be indomitable.

One person I've never seen in the years I've attended Allentown basketball games is Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski. He has little, if any, understanding how important this sport is to Allentown youth as well as young adults. If he had a clue, he would never have removed the rims from the outdoor courts at Andre Reed Park, next to Dieruff High School, as reported in The Morning Call. That's where the local high school freshman play as part of the summer league series.

Fed Ed stated he has done so in response to complaints from neighbors across the street. He met with them at a house where one of his political house parties took place. He claimed that “out of the area teenagers and adults” were the real culprits, and that other communities have been plagued by them as well.

I smell a bullshit burger. Palmer Pump Park and Saucon Park had to close because people from New York City were treating those parks and their creeks as day vacation destinations. No creek runs through Andre Reed Park. The teenagers and adults playing there are almost certainly from Allentown or a nearby community, just as kids from Allentown will come to Nazareth to play pickup basketball.

Fed Ed is using the authority of his office to screw kids who like to play basketball, in a basketball town, to placate his campaign supporters. It's what I'd expect from someone who steered contracts to other campaign supporters, as nine people will testify.

These desperadoes apparently parked on the grass to shine their lights on the court when Fed Ed cut the lights.

Now Fed Ed claims police were there, and handed out numerous tickets "to no avail."

I smell another bullshit burger. Police could easily have told these players that the park is closed and they need to go. And if they were handing out tickets, it should be easy to establish that these players are all local.

"My goal is to ultimately move the basketball courts away from the impacted residential areas," Fed Ed declaims. That totally defeats the purpose of having a neighborhood park in the first place. There should be more than a few swing sets.

Dennis Pearson, a community activist who lives near Andre Reed Park, was ignored by Fed Ed when he met with his campaign supporters. Had he spoken to Pearson, he'd know that parking in that neighborhood can be an issue. On Sunday, for example, "there were a large number of swimmers, a drum and bugle band practiced hard for a long time that day taking up much parking space on Andre Reed Way and a youth development tournament enticed many teams to participate ... Unfortunately on this day the fans caused the problem by parking where they were not allowed."

As Pearson observes, "parks are built to be used, but respected... Anybody that lives by a park should know this ... Andre Reed Park is a park which is surrounded on three sides by residential units without much separation between the park and the residential units... These residents have no right to take the park away from kids, but those kids or adults whom abuse their privileges should be denied further privilege."

The rims need to be restored. If people play after hours when the park is closed, cite them.

End of story.

Everyone was there to watch Uncle Drew.

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

The neighbors have begged the city to stop this nonsense. The thugs come at night and disrupt the neighborhood. They curse, drink and vandalize at all hours of the night. People can't sleep.

You hate Pawlowski so you use anything to attack him over. Why not go to the neighbors affected and spew your bullshit concerns to them!

Anonymous said...

In the 70's , '80's , 90's and earl 2000's , the best ball players in the City played at Union Terrace. Allentonians remember those courts being packed every night til it got dark. Same thing happened - the courts were removed for many of the same reasons. This happened at many of the City/ASD basketball courts.

Anonymous said...

Basketball is the sport of inner-city thugs. There should be a police officer there 24/7 to keep the criminal element away. Which would solve 90% of the problem

Anonymous said...

A city that can't police itself to the point where it simply boards things up is not a city in renaissance. It's also important to remember that Pawlowski's animus toward minorities is well established from the time of his ethnic cleansing campaign of businesses in the NIZ.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think it was a good idea to move the vagrants out of the Hamilton Street area. It looked like hell with panhandlers and the Shula Singers walking around making nuciences of themselves and scaring away people from the area.

If the city would put up video cameras at these kinds of places along with signs showing when they are open and closed, perhaps that would deter these people from trespassing on them. Also remove the lights, not just secure the box. The neighbors should call 911 when they see the midnight basketball players.

Anonymous said...

This is mainly so he can have his party favor consessionair competitors Zeroed in on one particular area to be artificially assimilated with the normal crowd. Than they can commit there property crimes under cover of the 4th's bangs and blend right in with the many innocent indigent children that are having there daily outings in the city.
The big lie of feet on the street makes for lagitamate commerece is just another way to center the terrorization in certian location destinations!

Anonymous said...

If you like quiet neighborhoods, don't live next to a swimming pool or basketball courts.

Anonymous said...

The laster poster is correct. Do a search to see when the neighbors across the street bought their row home. I guarantee it was after those courts were installed. They bought their homes in part because a park and playground was across the street. That is usually a positive selling point. Now they are whining about kids playing there. I agree that lights should be removed if that is an issue, and the lawn area blocked off to prevent cars from parking there with lights on. Those measures along with increased police presence should resolve the night basketball problem.

Anonymous said...

@6:50 am
Union Terrace fell into disrepair, The basketball courts and volleyball courts first and then a few years later the baseball fields. There are very few neighbors affected by the basketball courts there and the main reason other than to dusrepair were the people just stop coming to play. I remember mayor Joe Daddona used to walk around there in his snowshoes in the winter.

Anonymous said...

Fake News.

7:51 and 8:52 speak the truth

Anonymous said...

West Easton did the same thing. There were a group of young men (many from the Children's Home) playing at the park everyday. They cursed and carried on, threw empty gatorade and water bottles on the ground, along with empty baggies and blunt wrapper packs everywhere. It got to the point where folks (me included) didn't want to take are young children there to enjoy the park. They took down the rims, the young men disappeared, and now the community has their park back. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

We had the same issue with late night basketball at Jefferson Elementary on S 8th St. many years ago. They were usually adults playing ball at midnight and later and drinking while playing. ASD had lights installed on the playground to deter vandalism, but this provided a place to play basketball after dark. The metal backboards sounded like drums in the early hours when you are trying to sleep. The police were called and after several citations the players went elsewhere. One thing to note is that none of these adult players were from the southside and most were not even from Allentown.

I agree that the city should remove the lights. The hours the park can be used is already posted. When the idiots drive on the grass that is an additional offense that the neighbors should call on and APD cite these idiots. Based on our experience at Jefferson, I would not be surprised that they are not from Allentown.

Anonymous said...

Bernie lives in the burbs but tells city people what they must tolerate.

Anonymous said...

Take the lights down, make sure the operating hours prominent and enforce the hours with police patrols. That should address the problem.

Anonymous said...

Careful there FedEd Pa"low"ski. When the city of Chicago removed basketball courts from housing projects and neighborhood parks, gun violence sky rocketed as the kids have nothing else to do!

Anonymous said...

A few points of common sense:

1) Have hours for the courts to be used, post them, and enforce them.

2) I might be wrong, but I think alcohol is already prohibited in city parks.

3) Removing the rims is ridiculous since it deprives everyone of using the courts.

4) Removing the lights is ridiculous since there are times of the year when we don't have 16 hours of daylight.

5) If the police can't enforce the law and prevent problems at a known location where those breaking the law are doing so under the full illumination of artificial lighting, we are doomed as a city.

Above all else, this is another failure of leadership by a small-minded mayor. If he can't solve a problem this simple without preventing the use of the courts by those who would follow the rules, he certainly can't solve the larger problems that the city has.

He needs be run out of town with torches and pitchforks!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'd even have no problem with removing the lights bc they cost money, but not the rims.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Basketball is the sport of inner-city thugs. "

Spoken like a bigot. Thugs are not playing basketball. They are too busy shooting people and selling drugs. Basketball keeps kids away from those thugs.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"West Easton did the same thing."

West Easton has no police department. That's what police departments are for. And doesn't the Mayor live there? I'm told he treats that area as though he owns it. I would hardly hold up West Easton as an example.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie lives in the burbs but tells city people what they must tolerate."

Fed Ed or Lady McBeth, As you know, I live in Nazareth. That is not the 'burbs. It is an old decaying borough. And I now for a fact that lids from all over come to Nazareth to play basketball, including those "inner city thugs." I know this bc my grandson is one of them. He does live in Allentown, turns 18 in September,and will NOT be voting for you.

In fact, I am going to make sure that word gets out in the basketball community that you have ignored, and will encourage all seniors turning 18 to vote you out. Hopefully, you'll be in jailby then anyway.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Based on our experience at Jefferson, I would not be surprised that they are not from Allentown."

My guess is Allentown or nearby. Fed Ed made this assertion but produced no evidence. He could easily have done so bc he states police issued citations. Nobody is coming to Allentown from NYC to play hoops. That's just silly.

Anonymous said...

In some ways, I can see why the Mayor did it. It solves the problem and it's cheaper than the cops being there all the time. Should he have done it? Eh. Pools, baseball diamonds and basketball courts give kids something to do.

That being said, it's also an indictment on the complete failure that his parks department has become. It is dysfunctional and so poorly run that it has gotten to the point it serves NOBODY.

You've got courts with no hoops, pool debacles, closed pools with no replacements, a pond that for some reason can't be simply refiled, "riparian buffers" growing out of control, all the stone work collapsing and deteriorating and that's just the stuff that's made the papers.

Bernie O'Hare said...

But there are many good people in A-town parks and rec, like Glenn Klein. He is largely the reason Allentown hosts the summer league. It would be hard to do anywhere else, and provides such excitement of the kids. He is an unsung hero.

Anonymous said...

Bernie@11:38 The adults mentioned at Jefferson were not from Allentown. Most were from Easton. They told the police they come to Allentown because the playgrounds with courts are lighted. Simply solution- no lights.

Jamie Kelton said...

Oh don't start the weeds in the parks that the Wildlands Conservancy ruined Lehigh Parkway and Cedar Creek. They look like hell. But with regards to the midnight basketball players. Just take out the lights if the consensus is that night use of the courts is not desired. Taking down the rims was a stupid idea.

The basketball courts are there for the public to use. I don't think that people are going to drive more than an hour to play basketball anyway, so these "out of towers" are likely from maybe somewhere else on the East Side.

I suppose much of this goes to the complete mismanagement of the Parks and Recreation department. They are more concerned with Movies in Jordan Park and putting playground equipment in the park than anything else. They've proven they can't do project management in fixing a crack in Cedar Beach Pool.

Anonymous said...

This issue is one many neighborhoods with playgrounds face. Both sides have valid issues and a reasonable compromise shouldn't be difficult.
The big picture is more significant.
The current administration is tainted with scandal, corruption and incompetence reigns and many of the people engaged in youth sports have left town or withdrawn from civic involvement.
The civic and political capacity of Allentowned is on life support and the evidence is everywhere one might look.
It's a slow motion crisis that no amount of fancy, empty, glass and concrete can cover up.

Rich Fegley said...

We don't have police that can handle these situations. Why are there so many vacancies? Why do we have to hire officers that do not live in the City?

ATV riders and loitering late night in parks. Put them in jail.

They won't do that for some reason. Too busy. Understaffed.

Bernie O'Hare said...

12:29, Easton makes sense. Nobody is driving in from NYC to play hoops. I know it can be hard to find places to play, which is why kids from Allentown can show up at Bicentennial or in Nazareth, and kids (and young men) from Easton can show up in Allentown. I'd love to see the high school gyms opened up for public use on designated nights. Overhead is very expensive. I would ask adult volunteers to act as combination custodians and security guards. I'd volunteer a night a week. You could do that at the parks, too. I'd rather have kids playing than getting involved in negative pursuits.

Anonymous said...

B.O. "West Easton did the same thing" doesn't know what they're talking about, they move the polls and rims to half-court, so there's 2 half basketball courts so two games can be played at the same time. It's been that way for a couple of years, Park closes at dusk and there's no problems.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

Please rewrite and be more clear.

Anonymous said...

In West Easton the basketball rims have been up since 2016, the length of the court like in high school is 85 feet in length X by 50 feet wide, so what they did was cut the polls at both ends and put both ends with backboards and rims equally divided between the 85 feet in length. So now both half courts are 50 feet in length and 42 1/2 feet wide. The older boys were playing full-court and the younger ones didn't have a chance to play, now two games can be played instead of just one.

Anonymous said...

All right Bernie,
Just maybe one of fed eds co-conspiritors imps could start a midnight basketball group season. Than working with its collectivity said child or children would be more vulunerble to the modern social ills taught politically and advertised in local media outlets as a positive future?

Bernie O'Hare said...

5:27, sounds fair enough.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rich Fegley, What the hell has happened to you? You read like a bitter old man. The notion of putting a child in jail for riding an ATV or loitering in a park at night is complete nonsense. That's just as mean-spirited as removing the rims. Give them a break. You were young once, too.

Monkey Momma said...

My parents live in a very upscale retirement community out in Arizona. A game called "pickleball" is hugely popular there - it's all the rage with the athletic, primarily white, 55+ crowd. But, the sound of pickleball is quite loud - it makes a POP with every paddle hit. POP POP POP POP on and on and on all morning, all afternoon, into the evening...it is astonishingly disruptive to the peace. I know it sounds so silly, but seriously, you could put suspected terrorists in housing near a pickleball court, and you wouldn't need to mess with waterboarding or other messy torture techniques. That POP POP POP sound would drive even the toughest person to tears and confessions.

So the community has tried all kinds of solutions - sound barriers around the court, softer balls, different paddles, moving the entire court to very remote parts of the desert far away from any houses (which would have worked, except the whiny pickle ballers were concerned that their golf cart charges wouldn't last the distance to and from those courts, and they were also nervous about the wildlife that creeps around in remote desert settings. The whole thing has been the #1 point of discussion at every single neighborhood and homeowner association meeting, and it's the cover story every week on their newsletter. People run for officer positions based on their pickleball platforms. AND, the developer (Robson Developments, AZ) is exploring the idea of building a whole new pickleball friendly community.

All this is to say that NOISE issues, like the noise a basketball makes...at midnight or later, no less...really are difficult to handle. If the police are not able to control this issue, you can't very well throw up your hands and say, "oh kids will be kids, let 'em play anytime they please." That's torture for people who have their lives centered in homes surrounding the area. It doesn't matter when they moved into their homes - they have the right to expect a certain level of quiet. Either the rules are followed, or the attraction to the area after hours must be removed. I find it hard to believe that in the 2017, we don't have technology available to make a simple solution to this problem, though. It's sad that all the innocent kids are punished for the acts of the rule breakers at night, and I hope another solution can be found. But at the end of the day, the peace of the neighborhood must take priority over disruptive, loud, uncurtailed activities at night.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I agree completely that, even next to a neighborhood park, residents have every right to expect peace and quiet after a certain time. Basketballs can be very annoying too. The solution is telling the kids or adults that it's time to go. Removing the rimssends totally the wrong message. I have to look up pickleball now.

Anonymous said...

Why not post signs about a possible curfew or time limits of when you can play basketball. Removing the rims is just too extreme. Let people play basketball for goodness sakes.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am sure signs are there.

Anonymous said...

Of course Mr. Bernie wants to preach from Nazareth. Why not go tell the residents why they must tolerate drinking, cursing, drug use and all the noise from the adult hood rats. You hate Pawlowski so you endorse street thug night basketball.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Fed Ed or Lady McBeth, This is the second time in this thread that you've made the same racist claim.

Rich Fegley said...

Bernie,

As a child I never broke the rules. I was petrified to ride a mini-bike down the public streets. I was also inside as soon as the sun went down.

I respected the law as a child.

The law is the law. The rules are the rules. Also, respect noise ordinances after 10pm.

And these ATV riders are not all children. Actually, I was attacked by a group of riders that were gathered at 868 Constitution Drive. Punched in the face. No one went to jail. These riders wear masks so they cannot be identified. These law breakers also beat up Michael Donovan years ago.

Call me bitter. I just want people to follow the rules and not break the law. If they do, they should go to jail.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rich, my post is not about ATVs or people who assault others. It is about basketball. Now when kids stay after hours, I'm all for asking them to move along. If they are caught there after being told to leave, I agree they should be cited. But I don't support sending them to jail. nor would I have supported sending someone to jail for hitting you without knowing a great deal more. Don't let your disdain for jerks on ATVs cloud your otherwise good judgment about kids or young adults who may be violating an ordinance but are engaged in a positive activity.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

Please do not comment unless you can write in a way that is understood.

Anonymous said...

http://fox6now.com/2017/05/16/wauwatosa-school-locks-up-basketball-hoops-after-hours-as-temporary-solution-to-rowdy-behavior/

Place a locking device on the rims at the end of the day. Parks has employees working in the evening. Have an officer there during the placement of the locks to maintain order. The city is allowed to enforce an ordinance, it just needs the right approach.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's a good idea and could be done on an as needed basis.

Anonymous said...

O'Hare wants to be all cool and stuff. He calls people who know the score racists. He thinks that makes him better. Fact is people should not have to deal with street thugs regardless of who they are or what they look like. Go preach your crap to the neighbors. You won't do that.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Just deleted three OT comments about ATVs.

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:34, aka Fed Ed and Lady McBeth, I don't have to do anything like that in Nazareth bc it has never removed the rims at any of its courts. But I have never shied away from criticizing Nazareth and its terrible government. Nazareth's Mayor was forced to resign at least in some part as the result of what is reported here.

But if I have something to say, whether about Allentown or Nazareth, I always ID myself. They know what I think. I am not like you and do not hide behind a veil of anonymity to post your hate.

We all know what you mean when you use a phrase like "street thug." No need to add "regardless of who they are or what they look like."

Anonymous said...

Great discussion. I support the riparian buffers in Cedar Creek Parkway, mowing the grass up to the stream edge is bad for the stream, the animals and the aquatic life. I don't need to picnic at the streams edge. As for police officers living outside the City, what benefit is derived from a residency requirement? I'd much rather have our APD officers and their families afforded the privacy and security of a location outside the City. You would never be able to judge the quality of a police officer based on their residency. Agree with Bernie about the hoops at night, I'm a bit concerned about the growing trend of irresponsible ATV and dirt bike in the city bhy urban youth, but agree that kids don't need to be locked up over this kind of thing.

pathfinder said...

This is a typical over-reaction by Fed-Ed so he can have the Syrian support. It makes no sense to deny the east side youth the use of the basketball courts due to the irresponsible actions of teens and adults at night. The Parks department use to hire Allentown Police Reserves to guard the parks and playgrounds after dark. Police Reserves no longer perform that duty. If Fed-Ed had any foresight or truly cared about the youth in the city he would either have a concentrated patrol or have police at Andre Reed has a extra duty assignment. As previously mentioned, disconnect the lights. That will deter some of the ball playing. But APD needs to step up and cites these people for violating the ordinance of not being allowed in the park after dark. If they drive their cars into the park that is another violation for these ignorant actors that do not want to follow the law.

This has been a re-occurring issue for urban areas. But no one has removed the rims as a solution. Fed-Ed is using this issue to garner support, thus making it a political issue.

Anonymous said...

So bullshit. Why don't all you alleged bleeding heart liberals get out of the comfort of your lily white suburbs and go to east Allentown and tell the homeowners affected how terrible THEY are. I mean you are a racist if you want to get rid of all the hooliganism of cursing, drugs and booze at midnight.

Tell those poor folks haw intolerant they are. The neighbors are aware of O'Hare hateful post and are commenting.

george schaller said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Perhaps the obvious. Shut off the lights.

Bernie O'Hare said...

George Schaller, if you are unable to write clearly enough to be understood, I cannot host your comments.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Fed Ed or Lady McBeth, At least one of those homeowners has already posted on Trotner's Facebook page that removing the rims is an overreaction. And she has also taken exception to your racist description of the basketball players as "street thugs." I never said those neighbors are intolerant. I agree that they are entitled to a good night's sleep. You are just currying favor with those who financed your campaign, the very kind if behavior that has already resulted in a federal investigation. Instead of removing the rims, it is you who needs to be removed.

Anonymous said...

Your heart is filled with hate. Let God in.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Fed Ed or Lady McBeth, I believe God would restore the rims if he were Mayor of Allentown.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, did you ever notice that those that proclaim God with there lips publicly are of the heddonious types and also do there deeds in the dark! Sidebar