Dobbins Heights closes basketball court

Repairs needed as cracks are injury liability to players, town officials

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

DOBBINS HEIGHTS — Quentin Gore traded his basketball and high-tops on Wednesday morning for a shovel, a weed eater and other tools.

His place of preference remained the basketball court at Dobbins Heights Community Park. But playing wasn’t an option. On Monday, town officials closed the court to public use due to safety concerns Gore, 19, raised at the June 12 Town Council meeting.

Just like when the ball is in play, Gore wasn’t alone Wednesday morning during his clean-up efforts. His little brother, Ben Whitt, 8, was right there beside him. So was father James Whitt, and “Slugger” Whitt, Ben’s godfather.

“We’re making the park safer,” Ben said.

Gore seemed disappointed at not being allowed to play ball — the court’s perimeter was defended by yellow caution tape, and the baskets were blocked as well — but the Dobbins Heights man sees the big picture.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Quentin Gore, 19, and family members worked to get rid of weeds coming up through the long, wide cracks of the Dobbins Heights Community Park basketball court.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Quentin Gore, 19, and family members worked to get rid of weeds coming up through the long, wide cracks of the Dobbins Heights Community Park basketball court.

“I think it’s a good thing” the town closed off the court, Gore said. “We’re out here getting it cleaned up.”

Pulled the weeds won’t do much, though, to repair the severely damaged surface. Cracks several feet long, a few inches wide and an inch or more deep dominate the court like no NBA defender can.

Councilman Tyre’ Holloway said Mayor Antonio Blue ordered the court closed Monday after The Pee Dee Post’s article published shortly before 1 a.m. on June 13 brought the court’s deficiencies to light.

“The mayor was receiving calls about safety concerns on the court,” Holloway said. “He felt like he had no other choice but to shut it down for the sake of public safety. Right now it is closed until further notice, until we can get it repaired. We are at a process of getting contractors to take a look at it (and) give us an estimate on what it’s going to take.”

Some of the most critical cracks in the surface of the court are under one of the hoops, a primary landing zone for a basketball player that could lead to injury.

There appeared to be one contractor taking measurements early Wednesday morning at the court but no estimate on what the repairs will cost was immediately available. Holloway said the city’s 2014-15 budget, which begins July 1 and is expected to be adopted next week, makes no mention of basketball court repairs.

Where the money might come from, Holloway said, “is the million dollar question.”

“Our budget does not have those funds allocated,” he said. “At the moment, these funds are unavailable. “We’re looking for some help.”

Holloway said the town would likely seek private donations from individuals, businesses and private foundations to help support the repair project.

Holloway is grateful for the role Gore and his family members are playing in working towards a resolution.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Quentin Gore helps his little brother, Ben Whitt, 8, with his gloves before the two get to work.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Quentin Gore helps his little brother, Ben Whitt, 8, with his gloves before the two get to work.

“That tells me that we’re on the right track,” Holloway said. “This is a community park. As members of the community, we have to take ownership of the community. The citizens have just as much responsibility to help us keep it up, help maintain it. I applaud them enormously. That’s what we need … put our hands together, roll up our sleeves and get out there ourselves.”

Holloway was thankful for Gore’s “positive energy.”

“It’s easy to talk about something,” he said. “Doing it is a whole different story. I love the action.”

 

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