A group represented by local attorney Charles “Chip” MacLeod submitted alternative plans for the restoration of the Ajax basketball court to town hall on Friday that excludes a court with two baskets.
The group’s alternative plans will be discussed at tonight’s mayor and council meeting at 7:30 p.m.
The group’s recommendations are in stark contrast to the Chestertown Recreation Commission’s proposal to restore the court to its original layout with baskets at both ends of the court — about the size of a middle school basketball court.
The court went from a full court to a half court about a decade ago.
The group, lead by Tidewater Trader Publisher Carla F. Johnson, has been against restoring the court to its original two-basket layout.
In a letter dated May 14, Johnson complained that the recreation commission had rejected any changes to its plan.
Johnson’s letter claimed that the design approved and recommended by the recreation commission has ignored the comprehensive plan.
Johnson’s letter follows a previous letter from the group on March 12 expressing concern about noise and the court’s compatibility with the neighborhood.
She said the group of residents and businesses she represents are content with the current layout of Ajax.
“Property owners, businesses, and residents adjacent to and nearby the pocket park are happy with the current configuration as a dawn to dusk playground geared towards families, supervised children, and users of the Gilchrest Rail Trail, inclusive of the existing basketball rim and half court, in terms of scale and compatibility with the neighborhood,” she wrote to the recreation commission in December.
In a brief interview on Monday, recreation commission member Frank Rhodes said the commission has heard the concerns from the group but stands by its current plan that the recreation commission has already approved and presented to the council.
“We were tasked with coming up with a plan and we have,” Rhodes said. “And we believe the plan we have is in keeping with the court’s history.”
Reached by phone Monday, Ward 3 Councilman Ellsworth Tolliver said that he will defer to the recreation commission’s recommendations.
Tolliver said he was not discounting the concerns of Johnson’s group but said the recommendations to the town council for Ajax, or any other recreation project, had to come from the recreation commission.
“The commission was appointed by the town and we have to show good faith with that decision, we have to trust them,” Tolliver said. “It would set a bad precedent to let our commissions be overruled any time there isn’t full agreement on an initiative; we would never get anything done.”