Basketball courts

City faces pushback over plan to move Guilford basketball courts

GUILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The Guilford basketball courts have been located adjacent to the police compound for more than 20 years. Now the city wants to move them to a new location and set up a maintenance garage.

It’s a very tough decision that makes economic sense, but some people are against it.

There is history in the recreational basketball courts which are located just off the highway next to the Guilford Police Department.

“This court is an integral part of young people, especially at Adams Middle School,” said Michael Lawton. “It’s just down the street. It is an essential part of the city.

The city approved the construction of a new equipment garage for police, fire and other emergency equipment at the current location of the courts. The courts would move 2.7 miles down the road from Bittner Park.

“If it’s in the middle of the woods, one of the issues is there might be predators there,” Eric Lawton said. “I don’t think any predator or drug dealer would find it comfortable walking into an entrance that says Guilford Police Department.”

Not only is the courthouse centrally located near the highway and the police department, but it is also located right next to the fire department. There have been safety issues, even when the courts were set up 20 years ago, when fire trucks were heading into an emergency, there were children on bikes or crossing the street.

“There was concern that emergency vehicles were screaming in parking lots where our youngsters might be riding their bikes,” first coach Matt Hoey (D-Guilford) said. “That’s not the main concern.”

The main concern right now, Hoey says, is that Guilford has emergency equipment exposed to the elements scattered throughout the city. A garage will give them immediate access to equipment. While Hoey said Bittner Park is further away, it will be with the rest of the ballparks.

“It’s the Guilford Sports Complex, our recreation complex,” Hoey said. “We have Little League fields there, we have softball fields there and adult softball fields that are lighted. We have a soccer field that our varsity high school team plays on…these are lit.

The first selector wants to remind the community that this is still in the preliminary stages and they don’t even have any architectural drawings yet.