by Dennis Dalman
A basketball court will stay where it is in a park at The Wilds neighborhood in Sartell, according to an announcement on the city’s Facebook site.
That court became a subject of controversy, with questions of racial overtones, last month at the June 22 City Council meeting. One council member, Mike Chisum, strongly opposed moving that court to Watab Park, saying that complaints of noise, rough language or increased traffic were poor excuses to move an entire basketball court.
A group of young black men from St. Cloud had been using the court because their usual court had been closed due to the pandemic crisis. Some neighbors had complained to council members about noise, foul language and intimidation from the players.
At the June 22 council meeting, it was proposed to move the court to Watab Park and replace it with a half-sized basketball court and a pickleball court. Those courts had earlier been proposed for Watab Park.
The posting on the city’s Facebook site notes that a full court for Watab Park will still be considered depending on budgetary options because a public demand exists for a full court at that park.
The court issue will be considered at the next council meeting – 6 p.m. Monday, July 13.
The Facebook posting also states the following: “It is also important to highlight that all are welcome to enjoy our public amenities within our community. As the temperatures have risen over the past few weeks we have also seen a significant uptick in the use of our basketball courts within the community center. We are happy to see both our indoor and outdoor facilities garnering this demand!”
This story will be updated after the July 13 council meeting.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.