Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chatham residents team up against violence

Location: Nat King Cole Park, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
Rims locked at Cole Park by José M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune / May 10, 2010
Tribune:
Chatham residents fondly remember the fierce competition at Cole Park that at times drew some of the best local talent for pickup games.

The park, tucked among the neighborhood's tidy streets, was also a place for local kids to shoot hoops — and maybe dream of one day being that good.

Then on a spring evening last month, a gunman fired into a crowd of teens playing on the court, wounding two young men. One was hit in the calf and hip; the other in the neck.

It was the second shooting on the courts in four weeks. By that night, the basketball rims at the celebrated courts had been disabled with locks or taken down altogether, on orders of Ald. Freddrenna Lyle, 6th, who said it was simply too unsafe to play there.

Lyle has promised to leave things that way until there's more security. She's turned to the Park District and police for help.

The loss of the courts has disappointed many residents who say kids need a place to play. At the same time, the shootings illustrate a deeper concern in Chatham — how this neighborhood that prides itself on its middle-class values will stem brewing violence.

"It's starting to feel like it's expected in this community," Tom Wortham, 30, president of the Cole Park advisory council whose grandfather built a home across from the park 50 years ago, said of the violence. "When people think of the South Side of Chicago, they think violence. In Chatham, that's not what we see. It's happened, and we're going to fix it, so it doesn't happen again."
Read the whole thing! Apparently before these unfortunate shootings this park was full of activity in addition to basketball. Lately the violence in the Chatham community has started to become a problem. What can we do about it!

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