HAVERHILL — Neighbors of the 12th Avenue Playground said excessive noise and profanity from teenagers and adults playing basketball there is making them miserable and ruining the area.
Eight neighbors asked the City Council last night to crack down on noise and profanity in the park, and to consider turning the newly renovated basketball court there into a community garden or a paved area for children to ride bikes.
Irene MacAvoy, 78, who lives on 11th Avenue, said she has lived next door to the playground for 40 years, but “never had a summer as bad as this one.”
“I’ve been called bad names and I can’t read or sleep in the day or night,” MacAvoy said. “Once I hear the ball start bouncing, I know that soon there will be 20 or 30 people out there. I pay my taxes and I’d like some peace and quiet.”
Ursula Perry, a lawyer who spoke for the group last night, said police have ignored their pleas for help and refused to enforce city ordinances against loud noise and profanity.
“There are racial slurs, sexual innuendo and gang talk,” Perry told councilors. “We have gone to police and they won’t stop it, so now we are asking you for help.”
Several others said they won’t allow their children or grandchildren play in the park because of the atmosphere created by teenagers and adults yelling and swearing on the basketball court.
But another neighbor who spoke last night said problems at the playground aren’t that bad. The man, who did not identify himself, said his children use the basketball court regularly and would hate to see it eliminated.
“Sometimes it’s loud and sometimes I hear profanity,” he said of activity on the court. “But if I ask them to quiet down, nine times out of 10 they listen to me. I don’t see a big problem.”