ST. LOUIS – Whether you’re on the move or trying to get a bite, Forest Park is the place to do nearly everything, except a slam dunk.
Ray Park Perry spent his Friday soaking in the sun with his two-year-old daughter. He’s surprised that with other recreational options available, there are no basketball courts in one of the city’s go-to parks.
“A lot of folks like to play basketball,” Perry said. “It’s a good full body work out. I don’t know why we don’t have a basketball court in Forest Park.”
NAACP St. Louis President Adolphus Pruitt said he remembers the idea of basketball courts being floated around for decades, but the idea never developed because he believes it doesn’t fit Forest Park’s Master Plan.
Pruitt believes it’s a deeper-rooted issue that goes beyond basketball.
“I think most of us saw it as an issue of bias,” Pruitt said.
In 2020, the City of St. Louis made the move to build basketball courts. The Forest Park Advisory Board then created a subcommittee.
Nearly three years later, there are still no courts.
“Racially, but more than anything, bias against youth,” Pruitt said. “They thought basketball courts in Forest Park were going to attract a bunch of young rowdy folks who are going to come on the courts, drink beer and liquors, and smoke dope.”
Since the city’s original green light a few years ago, open houses have been held across St. Louis to get community input. The latest meeting was held in February.
The project has entered the design development phase.
“We appreciate the fact that it’s happening, but you can’t ignore what it took to get there,” Pruitt said.
FOX2 has been told the Advisory Board is expected to give final approval in the fall, after a final design is presented and park leaders locate donors.
“We need to push forward and go ahead and get a basketball court out here,” Perry said.