By: Jen Russon
Last summer, the City of Coral Springs responded to profanity complaints on four of its basketball courts by replacing them with pickleball — and Mark Rogers and his daughter, Alison, aren’t the only ones who think this is a sour dill.
Inspired by fellow baller, Jamal Waring, the trio leads a growing movement collecting over 500 signatures to restore all four basketball courts at Cypress Park on 1301 Coral Springs Drive.
“The city has asked basketball players to give up their space like it’s a seat on the back of a bus. We used to have the front seat, and we want it back,” said Mark.
He added the city’s decision to rebuild two and a half new basketball courts across the street at Cypress Hammock Park will likely result in overcrowding, and residents leaving Coral Springs to shoot hoops somewhere else.
His daughter agrees, suggesting the city’s plan to relocate the courts in June sends the wrong message to the community.
“I think diversity makes Coral Springs a more valuable place to live. Taking away basketball because a few people complained is alienating. It makes the city seem unwelcoming,” said Alison.
A civil rights attorney in Washington D.C., Alison, 30, said that she wouldn’t be where she is today without basketball.
As a starting point guard for the varsity basketball team at J.P. Taravella, she said City Commissioner Shawn Cerra, her former principal, has been approached by many alumni to restore the courts.
Like other graduates of Coral Springs schools who enjoy basketball’s inclusiveness and teamwork, Alison thinks the game is a touchstone of South Florida culture.
“Basketball players have their own vernacular. When they say ‘Downs,’ what they mean is ‘I got the next game.’ I worry no one will know what that means anymore,” said Alison.
Her father agreed by adding his reservations about what the new, diminished courts at Cypress Hammock Park will mean for avid players.
He worries kids who can’t drive won’t be able to access the courts and that pouring concrete easily and paying for lighting at the proposed location seems more costly than simply ‘putting up the hoops’ in the old spot.
The 60-year-old father of two, who has played basketball for half a century, likes to post pictures on Instagram of empty pickleball courts.
“Sooner or later, people are going to notice nobody is playing pickleball, whereas the basketball courts that used to be here attracted between 50,000 – 70,000 visitors a year,” he said on a Wednesday trip to Cypress Park.
When Coral Springs Talk asked Mark what he thought of complaints about players’ conduct, he said he’s sure there was some swearing, but not enough to warrant the courts’ removal.
Mark said he’s met six of the homeowners who live or lived across from the basketball courts, and of those, only two residents complained; one of them threatened a lawsuit against the city unless the courts were removed.
“The commission weighed two exaggerating homeowners against thousands of law-abiding taxpayers and their children who played ball there,” said Rogers.
Put Up the Hoops’ rallying cry of ‘four more just as before’ was loud enough to get Mayor Scott Brook to revisit the topic at a city workshop meeting on January 27.
To see if Mark and Alison Rogers are successful in their bid to urge city officials to restore the basketball courts at Cypress Park, check back with Coral Springs Talk.
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