Hoops in the Hood made it to the parking lot at 48th and Marshfield tonight. Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council also blocked off the street at 48th and Marshfield. Kids and families from the surrounding blocks came by as well. The basketball action went on for two hours, and non-players enjoyed face-painting, hopscotch and riding their bikes in the street. Peter Pan and Tone-Loc played on the UNION Impact Center team--I'm glad to know they are hooked up with them. My friends whose son made his First Communion recently held a birthday party in the street--I saw Peter Pan's parents and some of the Bradys over there. Members of Jason Gill's family also have friends on the 4800 block and were sitting out with them in front of their house during the festivities. It was nice to see people from multiple blocks enjoying themselves together.
Everything seemed to go quite smoothly. I gather there was one incident where someone showed up and wanted to play ball but hadn't been on any of the organized teams that have been playing all summer. They let him join the court briefly but it became clear quickly he just wanted to draw attention to himself, so some of the officers present escorted him out, and that was that.
There were some nice freebies for everyone, too. Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council had hot dogs, icies, popcorn and water for the crowd, and gave away tote bags. Teen Living Programs gave away pen key chains and let people know about their services. We're not so used to free stuff around here. A lot of the kids took a minute to realize they could just get something to eat. "It's free?" asked my buddy Eddie.
"Yep. Go ahead and have a hot dog," I told him.
Lots of neighborhood stalwarts were out and about at the event: Sandy Traback and Officer Tony Mejia, CAPS beat facilitator/NHS Advisory Board member/ Richards LSC member Veronica Lopez, Officer King (who regularly comes to Beat 914 meetings), Rafael Yanez of UNION Impact Center, and tons of folks from the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council.
Congratulations to Maria Raygoza, who has been doing excellent work on the 4800 S. Marshfield block. She's formed a block club and they are working with Ald. Cochran to get street resurfacing. Signs on the block show that work should be starting next week. They've already gotten some sidewalk repairs and tree-trimming.
My camera isn't working, but I hope to get pictures from others early next week.