EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

October 23, 2013

City residents praise plansfor playground

HAVERHILL — Residents who live near the 12th Avenue Playground said a plan by the city to address their concerns about excessive noise and profanity during basketball games there is already showing results.

At last night’s City Council meeting, recreation department head Vincent Ouellette outlined steps being taken to curb the problems, saying things are already improving.

From stepped up police enforcement of the park’s curfew to speaking with some of the people who were gathering at the park to play basketball and pointing out the need to curb the profanity, neighbors agree that the plan is working.

“What Vinny is doing is great and we’re already noticing improvements,” 11th Avenue resident Irene MacAvoy said immediately following Ouellette’s presentation. “There was already a curfew in place, but now it’s being enforced and that’s a good thing.”

Neighbors complained to the City Council at its Oct. 1 meeting that noise from basketball games at the park this summer was making life miserable. Eight neighbors asked the council to crack down on noise and profanity in the park.

“All we wanted to have was a little peace and quiet and not hear any foul language,” Irene MacAvoy said.

Ouellette said Mayor James Fiorentini asked him to look into the matter and come up with a set of recommendations.

Ouellette told the council that the plan also includes an outreach program by ValleyWorks to match older teens and young adults who have been gathering at the park with training and jobs.

“I believe the things we set forward will alleviate the problem come next spring,” Ouellette said.

The plan also calls for offering open gym basketball in the evening at Nettle and Whittier middle schools, which Ouellette said the principals of those schools have approved.

Players will be asked to register with the Recreation Department, which will oversee the indoor games and encourage proper behavior. During the school year, Nettle’s gym will be open Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m., and Whittier’s gym will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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