Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Basketball Assault and Neighborhood Response

Posted on Friday, July 6, 2007 by 1 comment

John Briggs writes today in the Burlington Free Press about trouble at Pomeroy Park in Burlington’s Hill-Old North End area. The basketball court there draws a lot of intense games. Neighbors complain of loud explicative-filled language, and games going on outside of allowed hours.

A woman who came out to ask a couple players to tone it down at 3 AM was assaulted recently… a terrible thing. This was first reported on our ONE East Neighborhood Forum and since then has been the focus of dozens of postings among neighbors. The police, parks and rec, and a city councilor have weighed in too on that forum.  John writes…

The crime has become a persistent topic on the neighborhood’s e-mail newsletter sponsored by the Front Porch Forum. Some who have written to the forum and others who live nearby say the basketball court, well-known as the site of “high level” recreational basketball, as Parks Director Wayne Gross put it, is out of place in the close-packed neighborhood.

The first round of messages declared outrage and indicated plenty of pent-up frustration about the situation with the basketball court. Then some messages were posted that raised the concern about racism and/or classism. This elicited a strong backlash claiming no racism (although some of the ongoing basketball playing crowd is African-American, the assailants were actually white college students). Now some members of the neighborhood have called a meeting to map out a plan for how to work towards a reasonable solution. The tone of many recent postings has been solution-oriented.

In another case, a woman was shouted down for requesting quiet during late hours.  John reports…

She called the police, and the players, in that instance, were ticketed. In a note on the Front Porch Forum, she said “swearing and inappropriate language is used on a daily basis” on the basketball court. In response to the many comments on the forum about the assault, Burlington Police Lt. Jennifer Morrison described the attack as “reprehensible” but added “it is unlikely that the perpetrator will be identified.” She said patrols have been increased near the park since then.

I’m grateful for John’s accurate attribution to Front Porch Forum in his article. Best wishes to all involved in this issue… I’m glad that FPF has proved useful. I also hope that working on this challenge will bring neighbors together in a lasting way that may have not occurred otherwise.

Posted in: Burlington, Community Building, Front Porch Forum, Media, Neighborhood, Stories, Vermont

One comment

  1. […] Ken Picard wrote a great article in this week’s Seven Days about the assault of a woman at a Burlington basketball court when she asked some late night ballplayers to tone it down. I reported on the Burlington Free Press’ coverage here previously. […]

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