Huntridge neighborhood residents have been having a ball. In fact, they’ve been having several and banging them into other balls and smashing them with mallets.
Since Apirl, neighbors have been meeting from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Huntridge Circle Park, 1251 S. Maryland Parkway, just south of Charleston Boulevard, to play lawn games, including croquet, bocce and badminton. There’s also been some flying-disc tossing and kite flying.
“We just wanted to take back the park,” said resident Steve Franklin. “We wanted to show our neighbors that it was their park for them to use and play in.”
The park has long been a source of stress for the neighborhood and the city, as much of the time it is populated more by homeless than homeowners. Approaches tried over the years have included legislation to forbid feeding the homeless at the park, closing it down to everyone and the current idea, closing the park nightly from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.
“We had to get a special-use permit to hold our events, but the city (of Las Vegas) was very good about it and made it very easy for us,” Franklin said. “We have a permit to do this until October.”
Participants say city marshals have been at nearly every event.
“The first time they came out they weren’t sure what to make of it,” said Alison Chambers, a regular attendee. “Once they saw that we had a permit, they were great and they’ve been by watching us play and making sure we aren’t having any problems.”
On a recent blustery Tuesday, Chambers was trying to organize a croquet match while Franklin struggled with a kite that had got stuck in a tree.
“We were supposed to have volleyball and badminton tonight, but I couldn’t find them in my house,” Franklin said. “I may have to just pick up another set of them for next week.”
Franklin said between 10 and 30 people show up each time.
“It’s been wonderful,” he said. “People are getting out, meeting their neighbors, getting a little exercise and just enjoying the park.”