Denied! Owls Head Park basketball players say city not taking care of courts

Denied! Owls Head Park basketball players say city not taking care of courts
Off their game: Regulars at Owls Head Park’s basketball courts say the city let the blacktops crack up, then made matters worse by coating it in a slippery paint.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

The city’s poor maintenance of Owls Head Park’s basketball courts has players falling instead of balling, say angry Bay Ridge hoopsters who are tired of being broken while on a fast break.

Neighbors complained that the city has let the blacktops deteriorate into a minefield of trip-hazard cracks — so bad the Parks Department removed one hoop to prevent people from playing on the treacherous court — and turned them into a virtual skating rink when it covered them with a slick sealant.

“Sometimes when you try to stop, you slide and somebody hits you and you get hurt,” said Richard Chin, who started dribbling on the courts as a child — but stopped this July when he slipped and twisted his back in a collision with another player.

Others have braved twisted ankles and bloodied limbs and stayed loyal to their local blacktops — but said they’re angry and puzzled at the Park’s Department’s failure to keep up the courts.

“The Parks Department is well aware of the problem, and they’ve tried to put a band-aid on it, but it hasn’t worked,” said Matthews, who is not a member of an eponymous rock band. “It’s sad and it’s frustrating.”

Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), who claimed he allocated $2 million to refurbishing the park in the past decade — said there isn’t enough funding to pay for all improvements.

“Unfortunately, there is always more demand from our schools, parks, and hospitals than there is money from the city, so each budget year we try to fund the projects that community needs the most,” the pol said.

The Parks Department said it has no plans to fix the courts, because it doesn’t have the money.

“While we would welcome an allocation of capital funds to reconstruct the basketball courts, such funds are unfortunately not in our budget at this present time,” said spokeswoman Meghan Lalor.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

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