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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Saturday, June 6, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Firm Solves Dilemma Of Kids’ Basketball Court City Banned Their Street Hoop, Put Up To Avoid Troubled Park

Thirteen-year-old Michael Siegel opened the front door of his home in Spokane’s East Central neighborhood Thursday and found a “guardian angel.”

It was the top boss at a local cement company, offering to build a basketball court.

Michael and his friends, afraid to play at the city park nearby, put up a hoop of their own with the help of about 10 families.

But they lost their street court this week, when the city branded it a hazard.

Early next week, construction crews will make their way to Fourth and Haven to build a concrete court that should please both the children and code enforcement officers.

The donation, which the concrete company wants to keep anonymous, came the same day a story about the lost hoop appeared in The Spokesman-Review.

Three weeks ago, local kids decided it was no longer safe playing ball at nearby Underhill Park, where drug dealers, bullies and prostitutes gather.

They put up a hoop of their own on Haven, only to have the city order it removed from the right of way.

News of the dilemma spread fast.

“They’ve been coming out of the woodwork,” said Michael’s mother, Mary Siegel. “I woke up this morning … and here comes everybody. Everything has been donated.”

Several companies have called, offering laborers to build the court and concrete to build it with. Residents have offered time and money.

The neighborhood court is moving, not disappearing, thanks to the generosity of Spokane residents.

“The neighbors at this point are very pleased. We’ve got to just hang in there,” said Leone Johnson, a missionary who is helping steer neighborhood kids away from crime.

City Councilwoman Cherie Rodgers, sympathetic to the kids’ plight, had this to say: “Maybe there’s a guardian angel out there after all.”

, DataTimes

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