Soccer balls from city park create nuisance for neighbors
Neighbors said they are fed up with soccer balls flying out of a city park and hitting their homes.Photo: Video by ktnv.com
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Neighbors said they are fed up with soccer balls flying out of a city park and hitting their homes.
Kimberly Marx has collected nearly three-dozen soccer balls even though she doesn't play the game. The balls come over a six-foot wall that separates her yard from Douglas Selby Park near Owens Avenue and Lamb Boulevard.
"My issue is with strangers that I don't know feeling like they have the right to climb the wall and access my property," said Marx.
Marx turned to Action News after another neighbor expressed similar complaints earlier this month.
"With the soccer games, they did not build the wall up high enough so I'm getting soccer balls hitting my house," said neighbor Shawn Cunningham in an interview on May 2.
The park opened in 2011, after Marx moved into a home that's behind one of the goalie nets. Cunningham said she has lived at her mobile home for roughly five years, long before the park was built. The park has a fence, about 24-feet high, behind the goalie nets and a wall surrounding the soccer field, which is about six-feet high. The walls also have "no trespassing signs" posted.
"They're not high enough to discourage people from walking over them and they're not high enough to catch a backdrop of a ball," said Marx.
Neighbors told Action News they like the park but Marx is worried about liability, especially if someone gets hurt climbing over the wall to retrieve a ball. She voiced those concerns to the city in the past. Public documents show the Las Vegas planning commission approved a variance to raise part of the wall near Marx's property in October, 2011, but that never happened.
"The money that the city is spending on upkeep of this park, it can be spent to improve it," said Marx.
Action News took the concerns to city councilman Bob Coffin, whose district includes the park. Marx provided a copy of a letter she wrote to Coffin about the issues in October, 2012.
"We've met with the coaches, senior staff and the city, and they've told them that they have to forbid the kids from going to get the balls on the property," said Coffin.
The councilman hopes a change in behavior by the players will reduce the problems.
"I'm not going to say we should spend $50,000 or $60,000 to build a fence a little bit higher to keep a person in a mobile home safe from a soccer ball. We just have to balance our needs here," Coffin said.
Marx said she frequently returns balls when children ask for them. Other balls that are unclaimed are often donated to local schools, she said.
"I think it's cheaper to do prevention than to do a lawsuit and injuires," said Marx.
An August, 2011, memo from the city's planning and development department shows confrontations between neighbors and park visitors about soccer balls have escalated to a point where police were called.
As for the variance, the city was working to raise a section of the wall but the project was put on hold because of funding issues, said city spokeswoman Diana Paul in an email.
Coffin said he wants to see if discussions with soccer teams and coaches make a difference.