Last updated: August 18. 2014 11:28PM - 585 Views
By - wtoler@civitasmedia.com

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DOBBINS HEIGHTS — The town basketball court will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

If it seems like déjà vu, the Dobbins Heights Town Council — in a special called meeting — voted for the second time in as many months to keep the court closed until it can be properly fixed.

The council — which normally doesn’t meet in August — convened Thursday to discuss the ongoing drama surrounding repairs to the cracked court.

Part of the discussion centered around a donation of 63 bags of cold patch asphalt from Lowe’s Home Improvement secured by college student Quentin Gore.

Councilwoman Gracie Jackson was upset about the decision to send the asphalt back.

“I’m sorry we had to return something we could use in Dobbins Heights,” she said. “When we make decisions like this, they should be made by the whole council, not just one person.”

Mayor Antonio Blue took responsibility for returning the donation after hearing from the rest of the council and a few residents in attendance.

“I’ll take the blame,” he said. “I sent it back.”

Blue said he spoke with the manager at Lowe’s and explained that the town was seeking monetary donations. He said the manager told him the store couldn’t do that and that the gifted product couldn’t be used for any other purposes.

He said he had spoken with several people — including NBA and NFL players — about donations, but was still waiting to hear back. He also suggested the town could take out a loan or apply for grant money.

“I want it fixed too,” he said. “That court has been in terrible shape.”

Last month, the council decided that it wasn’t going to just temporarily patch the court, but repave it.

Councilman Tyré Holloway said a temporary fix would be “putting a Band-Aid on a big wound.”

“What’s more fiscally responsible?” he asked, “(patching) the court or repaving the court?”

“If we were to patch this court, it could last three to five months, (then) we would have to patch it again,” Holloway said. “If we do it right, we do it one time, we won’t have to revisit this issue in the foreseeable future.”

The town gets $4,200 from Richmond County for parks and recreation. The estimated cost to completely repave the court is $50,000 — nearly a sixth of the town’s annual budget.

Blue also pointed out that 10 people owe $54,000 in taxes.

“Encourage them to pay their taxes,” he said. “If we don’t collect any taxes, nothing gets done.”

Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675.

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