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Hoop dreams become hoop nightmare in Granite Quarry

 

GRANITE QUARRY — A pair of Mulberry Lane residents wanted to know, what gives?

Speaking to the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen on Monday night, Aubrey Smith and Vonda Jenkins-Kimrey asked why basketball goals had been taken down on the court at Granite Civic Park.

“What were the issues?” Jenkins-Kimrey asked. “How is the community addressing that?”

If the lack of basketball goals is going to be a permanent move, Smith said, what will take their place? She said she hoped to get the conversation started among the board members.

And she did.

“I think we owe those people an answer,” Alderman John Linker said.

Mayor Bill Feather said this isn’t the first time the basketball goals have been removed. It happened in years past because of foul language and drug use among some of the people playing at the court, he said.

The hoops went back up, but again there were concerns. “It has been at the (town) manager’s discretion to leave up or take down” the goals, Feather said.

Town Manager Phil Conrad said Monday night the town had to remove the goals “or we really would have had some problems.”

“It was complaint-driven, and we did have complaints over there,” Conrad said.

A Granite Quarry police officer said condoms were present at the court, alcohol bottles or cans were in the trash, some players using the courts were gang members, drugs were evident, and there was cussing and damage to town property.

The officer said the court was being abused by both people coming from outside Granite Quarry and residents of the town.

Alderman Kim Cress, a former maintenance director for the town, said the court used to have a light for nighttime play. It was hoped in the past that by removing the light the problems would go away, Cress said, but the players would turn on the tennis court lights instead so their games could continue.

Those nearby tennis court lights were costing the town $17 an hour, Cress said.

Linker said the real question is, “Do we have any solution?”

In the end, the aldermen decided to send the matter to the Parks and Recreation Committee for its input.

In another matter Monday, Jason Smith, owner of the Hotdog Shack, announced that Julie Humphries is the most recent recipient of the Community First Award.

Throughout the year, the Hotdog Shack and F&M Bank are teaming up to recognize people who contribute to the community, making it a better place to live, work and visit.

As the PTA president, Humphries organized this year’s walkathon celebrating Granite Quarry Elementary School’s 100th anniversary.

“It was said that when the bell rings on the last day of school,” Smith said, “that this fixture in our community (Humphries) is preparing for the first day of the following school year,”

Smith said friends and fellow volunteers spoke highly of Humphries’ leadership skills, kind heart and qualities of loyalty, determination and patience.

Humphries was on hand for the presentation, and she credited everyone else with the PTA.

“This is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she said. “I couldn’t work for a better town or a better group of people.”

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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