Posted on September 12, 2013

Trustee Wants Basketball Hoops Removed from All Oak Lawn Parks

Lorraine Swanson, OakLawn Patch, September 11, 2013

An Oak Lawn trustee appeared before the park district board on Monday and asked that basketball hoops be removed from all village parks.

The request stemmed from an incident last month where black and white youths clashed at Wolfe Wildlife Refuge at 105th Street and Laramie Avenue, resulting in several teens being injured and two arrests.

Tr. Carol Quinlan (Dist. 5) explained that neighborhood families and young children no longer use Wolfe Wildlife or Little Wolfe Park, because it has been taken over by young adults and older teens from outside of Oak Lawn coming to play basketball.

“Unfortunately over the last years we’ve seen a big change in what’s happening at Wolfe,” Quinlan said, who lives a few houses away from Little Wolfe at 107th Street and Laramie Avenue. “It’s young adults and older teens that are there and they’re not from the area. I can tell because all the cars from people driving in have Chicago city stickers.”

Backed by 35 of her constituents, Quinlan voiced their concerns about foul language emanating from the basketball courts in Little Wolfe, noise after dark and litter around the park.

Quinlan said that neighborhood residents are now too intimidated to walk their dogs on the nature paths, let alone allowing their young children to play at Little Wolfe playground unsupervised.

“I’m getting daily complaints from residents around Wolfe, especially after the incident last month,” the village trustee said. “People aren’t feeling safe. I believe that by taking down the hoops … it would remove some of that outside element.”

Oak Lawn Police Chief Michael Murray told the park board that police patrols have been increased at Wolfe Wildlife and Little Wolfe Park since the Aug. 14 skirmish between black and white male juveniles.

Two older black teens were charged as adults on misdemeanor assault and battery charges. The black youths claim the skirmish started when white youths used racial slurs.


“I say remove the hoops in all of Oak Lawn,” the village trustee said to audience applause.  “It’s not easy for me as a village trustee either to remove something from a park, but we are paying taxes and it’s our money going toward the park district. I quite frankly don’t care about people outside of Oak Lawn.”

Quinlan proposed replacing the basketball court at Little Wolfe with an outdoor sand volleyball court. {snip}