What everyone wanted to know was why? Why were the goals taken down? Who was responsible?
And before the questions were answered, the rumors started to fly.
Using Facebook, residents began speculating. Drawing ideas from thin air, so to speak. Pointing the finger at those they wanted to blame and laying fault at the feet of the police department.
The answers to everyone’s concerns were answered in a little chat with Mayor Rick Freeman Monday afternoon.
“I made the decision based on a number of complaints I received from residents. Women in church groups told me how they were uncomfortable walking in the park when games were going on,” Freeman said.
“Individuals cussing down there made many people uncomfortable,” he continued. “I did not have the goals removed to punish our kids. But I have safety concerns and that comes first.”
Freeman also stated that several residents had complained to him about the noise level at night.
“I ran into one area resident that said last weekend (after the goals were removed) it was the most peaceful it had been in a long time,” he explained.
“In no way do I blame our police department for not having control over the situation. Our police department is stretched to the limit and they can only do so much,” he added.
He also stated people from outside Piedmont caused him concern. “I went by there one night and out of 18 cars, none were from Calhoun County.”
Asked if it was true that he planned on placing a military tank on the cement slab once used as the basketball court, Freeman said he would like to someday see a tank placed in the park in honor of the first National Guard unit to be reactivated when the Korean War began. He stated, however, that he has no plans to put it on that slab.
“I wouldn’t want to put it so close to the road – you know when you do that someone is going to drive by and throw things at something like that,” he said.
“Those goals were worn and needed to be replaced anyway. I just decided to remove them now to stop something before it gets out of hand,” Freeman said.
“We have plans to redo a lot of things, and probably get new everything.”
Freeman said residents still had the Clyde Pike Civic Center and courts at Kimbrough Gym they could use for their basketball games.