Save the Hoops

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Dear Editor:

In response to an Op-Ed piece from the Wachapreague councilwoman Margo, published April 29 in the Eastern Shore Post, there are few things that the public should be made aware of.

(1) Taxes. It is not just Wachapreague town tax dollars that have maintained Powell Park where the tennis-basketball court is located. Accomack County had managed the maintenance of the park as early as 1974 when the ballfield was planned and developed by the county, as well as the grass cutting, playground and concession stand, and restrooms. So, for more than 40 years, Accomack County tax dollars have gone into this park.

(2) Use. Before the permanent basketball backboards and hoops were installed, there were portable basketball hoops at the court for six years. One of those was donated by a town resident and the other by Coast Guard Station Wachapreague, as Coast Guard members would play regularly and so would many of the same groups of people that used the permanent basketball hoops until they were taken down!

And funny how everyone seemed happy about the adding of hoops to the tennis court as no complaints were ever made. All the kids and young adult men played alongside with the pickleballers, and everyone got along with no problems. That was, until residents who are now complaining moved into town. Funny how the council member says they had three years of discussions to take down the hoops, but prior to the complaining resident moving here, there were no discussions.

The courts are big enough to have five-on-five games, so it is not an excess of people. Also, the so-called illegal substance — “pot” — was legalized in July 2021. I’m not condoning the use, but it is not illegal and unfortunately it is everywhere not just at a basketball court.

(3) Proper Procedure. Unfortunately, we were unaware of the protocol for change of town property when we donated and installed the hoops. The planning commission would have to review any changes to town property and make recommendations to the Town Council, but the Town Council still has final say.

When the basketball hoops were offered, the Town Council was pleased by the offer and they went forward. I do find it very interesting that this proper procedure was NOT called for or mentioned when the bocce court was put in place at the Wachapreague Seaside Park or when the dog park was put in at Wachapreague Powell Park. I find that hypocritical, especially when I was the one who built the bocce ball court and dog park with no labor cost to the town.

So if the basketball court needs to go in front of the planning commission, then the bocce ball court and dog park need to be dismantled just as the basketball court was until they can be reviewed also. Again, we need to remember this is a public park and not a private commons.

Please come to the next town meeting at the town hall on May 12, at 7 p.m., to express your opinions.

Rich Puchalski,
Wachapreague

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