Residents enjoying basketball at Cypress Park in Coral Springs
By: Jen Russon
Pickleball at Cypress Park is here to stay.
Following a petition to restore four basketball courts in their place, the city commission reached a compromise.
Instead of the one and a half courts originally planned, two full courts will be constructed at the northeast parking lot in Cypress Hammock Park, with plans for a third full court sometime in the next fiscal year.
“We have to solve this problem without displacing anyone. Every part of Cypress Park is being used. It’s a great problem to have,” said Vice Mayor Joshua Simmons.
In a review of several options presented at the workshop Wednesday night, Simmons said he wanted to move forward with two full courts at Cypress Hammock since $100,000 had already been spent on their relocation, and moving across the street as planned doesn’t infringe on other sports.
He added the decision to remove the basketball courts in the first place was not an issue of race, so much as deciding basketball courts are less than ideal when they butt up against residential areas.
“Not one person on this dais is a racist. I can’t speak to the intent of the people who complained,” said Vice Mayor Simmons, referring to allegations of profanity at the court’s former location.
Mayor Scott Brook also weighed in during the hour-long discussion about the best location for basketball courts. Ideally, these should not buffer places of worship, playgrounds, or neighborhoods.
Brook said he plays racquetball at Cypress Hammock Park and has been known to let a four-letter word fly out occasionally.
“I’ve used profanity. And I’m the mayor, he said, adding, “there are 132,000 people in Coral Springs, and we can’t make everyone happy. That’s not our job.”
Rob Hunter, Director of Parks and Recreation, told the commission board the decision to move forward with the relocation of the basketball courts was the least expensive of the seven options presented.
Hunter said the $375,000 option to build two full courts was within the city’s budget this year in a slide show that included budgetary impacts.
The commission said a private donor or sponsorship of a third full basketball court, no strings attached, could expedite things; however, Commissioner Shawn Cerra said he was not a fan of this idea.
“We owe it to our residents to pay for this. It’s the city’s responsibility,” Cerra said.
Cerra, who is director of Athletics and Student Activities for Broward County Public Schools, is also a proponent of pickleball and has expressed his support for the sport since it came up for debate in a workshop last year.
“We already made our decision on May 27. I feel we are the envy of other cities because, now, we have a pickleball community,” he said.
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- Jen Russon has been a staff writer for Talk Media since 2018. She is also a novelist, copywriter and editor at the imprint www.swallowpublishing.com. She lives in Coral Springs with her family.
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