Up & Coming Weekly

May 07, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 25 of 36

MAY 8-14, 2019 UCW 25 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Hope Mills News & Views The Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department is launching a new initiative aimed at keeping young people off the streets on summer nights by engaging them in wholesome activi- ties. Beginning June 7 and continuing until July 12, the department will offer coed 3-on-3 basketball at the rec- reation center gymnasium, every Friday night from 9 p.m. until midnight. The doors will open at 8:30 p.m. each Friday. There is no charge to play — participants simply have to sign up at the recreation offices at 5766 Rockfish Rd. Lamarco Morrison, new head of the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department, said he got the idea after a recent meeting of the town's Citizen Academy and the result of a con- versation with recreation department staff mem- ber Stephen Kessenger. Morrison said the ques- tion was raised as to what the town was doing to attract youth in hard-to-reach areas of the community. The idea of night basket- ball was suggested. "It was a way to get the youth off the street in the summer, plus involve the police depart- ment,'' Morrison said. Morrison later learned that Kessenger had done some- thing similar when he was working in Hoke County. Morrison then ran the idea by other people in Hope Mills, including the town manager and people associated with the parks department. The plan every Friday is to hold play from 9 p.m. until midnight in the recreation department gym. There will be two half-court games going on at once, each team composed of three players. Each game will last 12 minutes. "If you win, you stay on the court,'' Morrison said. "If you lose, you're off the court. We'll go that way until 12 (a.m.')" The league is open to both male and female players. Although there is no age limit for the games, Morrison said the targeted age group is from 15 to 20 years old. Morrison is working to get members of the Hope Mills Police Department to play in the games, along with staff from the recreation department. They will be there both to partici- pate but also to supervise the activity. "The police have two roles,'' Morrison said, "to make sure everybody behaves, but they also will be involved with playing the game.'' Morrison said he is still working out some details of that arrangement with Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo. Concession stands won't be open inside the gym during the games, but Morrison said food trucks would be outside for those who might want to get something to eat. "We'll do it for six weeks,'' Morrison said. "If people say they want more, we'll look at doing it longer.'' Parks and rec offers late-night basketball this summer by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Busy Hope Mills intersections, like this one at Rockfish and Golfview Roads, could be candidates for red-light cameras. EVENTS It's been more than two years since the town of Hope Mills took action to start the process of bringing red-light cameras to the community. The cameras, which are already in nearby Fayetteville, are posted at no cost to the town at designated intersections and capture images of drivers running red lights. The drivers are contacted by mail and assessed fines. The money collected from the fines is divided between the company that operates the cameras and Cumberland County Schools. Neither the town nor its police department are involved in any way in the operation of the cam- eras or where the money goes. The only thing the town does is decide which intersections to have the cameras cover. When the plan was first presented to the town's board of commissioners March 6, 2017, members of that board voted unanimously to move forward with looking into adding cameras to the town. The issue has resurfaced since the North Carolina House of Representatives recently passed legislation that would bring the cam- eras to Hope Mills. It still has to pass the North Carolina Senate for it to happen. Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo stood by his previous comments from the board meeting of two years ago and said traffic safety is always a priority in Hope Mills. He added that no deci- sions had been made on where cameras would be located if they are finally approved. When it comes time to make a decision, Acciardo said, the town will likely draw on statistics and find the locations where accidents have been the biggest problem. Commissioner Pat Edwards, who seconded the original motion by Commissioner Jerry Legge to look into the cameras, said she had heard a lot of pros and cons since then about bringing the cam- eras to Hope Mills. Edwards said input from citizens would guide her final decision on adding cameras, but she added that if the issue involves safety for the com- munity and the schools get additional funding from the project, she would tend to be supportive. "How often do you get something that doesn't cost anything that provides safety?'' Edwards said. Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner supports the cameras, both for the role they could play in sav- ing lives and for providing money to the schools. Warner mentioned a number of intersec- tions where accidents occur frequently that have been looked at in previous years. The list includes Hope Mills and Camden Road, Hope Mills and Highway 162, and Legion Road and Highway 162. "A lot of it has to do with impatience, especial- ly at Main Street/Hope Mills Road and Camden,'' Warner said. "They just take a chance. We see it happening all the time. "Statistically, there is national proof that the red-light cameras save lives and prevent acci- dents in attempting to prevent traffic from run- ning yellow and red lights. Ultimately, the final decision will be left up to this board.'' NEWS Red-light cameras a step closer to coming to Hope Mills by EARL VAUGHAN JR.

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