Kids don’t need to spend holiday ‘cooped up inside playing video games,’ Roebuck says
A Roswell city councilor took matters into his own hands Friday afternoon when he found a basketball court he was told would remain open had been locked due to the public health order.
Ward 1 Councilor Jacob Roebuck used some wire cutters to remove a portion of fencing around the basketball courts at Cahoon Park, 1101 W. Fourth Street, late Friday afternoon.
“I was removing a temporary barrier,” he told the Roswell Daily Record.
Jim Burress, director of special services and parks, confirmed Roebuck did not cut the fence itself, but pieces that hold the fence together.
Roebuck said he had discussed with City Manager Joe Neeb earlier this week if city basketball courts had been closed under the state’s return Monday to higher restrictions on public services and activities in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
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Burress said the basketball and tennis courts at Cahoon Park, because they do have fencing around them, were locked.
Roebuck said he was told city courts would remain open. He was not sure why there was a discrepancy in the Cahoon courts being locked.
“When I got there I saw it had been closed up, and so I called the city manager and told him I was going to remove that. And then I did,” he said.
“Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have done that but I know we’re short-staffed. It was like four o’clock on Friday, so I couldn’t get a hold of Jim (Burress), so I just took it down not really thinking it was going to cause any kind of big stir,” he said.
Roebuck said other basketball courts in town are accessible and he just wanted to make sure the courts at Cahoon Park were, too.
“I informed the city manager. I didn’t ask any city employees to do anything,” he said.
“I have a high level of concern for our youth and our kids bearing the brunt of this,” he said of the pandemic and the health orders.
“While I appreciate the governor’s intent, the damage that has been done to our children is, in my opinion, much worse than any damage COVID could do,” Roebuck said.
“They don’t need to spend their Thanksgiving break cooped up inside playing video games,” he said.
“I hope that I didn’t offend anybody. That wasn’t my intent, or to make a political statement. It was just to open up a basketball court so if there’s some kids who want to use it, they can,” he said.
City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.