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Plan could convert basketball courts in Rogers Park into street hockey rink

City officials are considering a plan to remove the outdoor basketball courts in Rogers Avenue Park, but a couple of nearby residents spoke out against the idea at last week's Common Council work session.

Joseph Kane, a city forestry employee, and Joan Mulvey, of Livingston Place, denounced the suggestion to replace hoops with hockey by turning the basketball area into a street hockey rink.

Rogers Avenue hosts an ice skating rink in winter, and Kane suggested that the city could pave that area, which is grass in the summer, if it wants a place for street hockey.

"If you want to make a skating rink, the basketball court isn't the place to do it," Kane said.

Alderman John Lombardi III, R-1st Ward, said the city's police and fire unions have offered to fund the move and also to add a memorial to deceased officers.

Kane criticized that idea, too, saying the officers in question weren't from the Rogers Avenue neighborhood.

Lombardi said he wants to prevent kids from playing street hockey in the streets, and some residents in the Rogers Avenue area have been complaining about noise from the basketball players.

Mulvey, who turns 80 this week, said she has lived near the park for 57 years.

"We never had a problem," she said. "At least they're not on their phones and texting. They're exercising and having fun. I love the park. Please don't take that away from us. The people who are complaining just moved in."

"I still think it's a necessary move," Lombardi said. He said he was open to Kane's suggestion of paving the grassy area, but he noted that there are basketball courts in half a dozen other parks.

"We're trying to make positive changes, and with the police and fire unions putting some money into it I think it's an opportunity we need to take advantage of," Lombardi said.

Mayor Michael W. Tucker said the decision is up to the Council.