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Local Voices: Another Consideration in Wentzville’s Basketball Goal Debate

Outdoors Basketball Goal

Hey, remember the time in America when you played in the road? You set up your hockey goals/basketball goals /stickball game/endzones (fill in the blank here). You watched out for cars so nobody would get hit? Then when you were done you took everything out of the street, put it away, went home and couldn’t wait to do it again?

The Board of Aldermen has now had at least three meetings to discuss why people can’t leave their basketball goals in the right of way.

We have the second highest sales tax rate in the state, traffic backed up on I-70 at Pearce and the Parkway, the shortest on-ramp to get onto I-70 I’ve ever seen in my life, traffic, traffic, traffic, 50 percent of our population claims they won’t stay in Wentzville for the long term, and basketball goals is where we’re spending our time?

Let me clarify this for everybody. A city can NEVER, EVER pass a policy that insinuates the city endorses recreation in or near City streets. Why?

Because as soon as someone gets hit by a car, tears a groin on a fire hydrant, T-bones a city sign located in the right of way (pick your poison here), etc. the City who endorsed the policy is now on the hook. And by the “City”, I mean you and me – the taxpayers who always seem to be picking up the check.

Not the driver, not the parents/friends/relatives/pals/teammates, not the fire hydrant or the City sign. The taxpayers.

The folks who said it was okay to create impromptu recreational facilities on or near City streets but didn’t provide adequate protections for anyone using those impromptu recreational facilities. See it now?

The taxpayers, most of whom frankly didn’t care if we were playing in the street or not, now get to cover the lawsuit. And there will be a lawsuit. Cities have too much money for there NOT to be a lawsuit.

Cities get around this in two ways:

1. Create facilities where people can play safely, establish rules, and insure those areas. You know, like “parks.”

2. Take a moderate stance where traditional activities are allowed as long as toys, objects, and people are removed from the City right of way area immediately afterward and nobody complains during. And make it clear you play in the right of way at your own risk.

You know, like we’ve done the last 200 years.

They DO NOT pass laws that state, or even insinuate, that it’s okay to play in City streets.

Three meetings, and we’re still trying to figure that out? Could somebody PLEASE do something about the sales tax rate?

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