The “community park feud” continues in Gilbert.
As ABC15 first reported Thursday , the HOA board at the Vincenz community has banned organized sports from the large park inside the grounds. Board members say allowing organized leagues on their property is a liability if someone were to be injured.
“We have to make decisions that are good and right for the entire community, not just simply for a handful of people,” said Deborah St. Peter, board president.
Many parents in the neighborhood disagree, especially Danette McOmber, who has spearheaded a protest against the ban.
"There’s only so many city parks in Gilbert. and there’s not enough room,” said McOmber. “You have to sign up ahead of time, and they’re crowded. You know, we pay the dues for this park, why not be able to use it?”
On Saturday, McOmber spent hours knocking on doors and talking with residents about the situation. She’s started a petition to fire the board members and replace them with what she calls “family-friendly representatives.”
“This is a big deal,” McOmber said. “You know [my kids are] all into sports, and every night of the week I’m taking them to practices. It makes it a lot easier for them to be able to use the park in our neighborhood."
The petition to fire the HOA board members has nearly 50 of the 100 signatures needed. If and when they reach 100 signatures, a meeting should be organized to vote on replacing the board members.
St. Peter says the board's lawyers are the ones who made the recommendation to ban organized sports. In addition to liability, she lists sanitation and limited parking as reasons for the restrictions.
“Just a whole bunch of issues to the neighbors that live around here,” St. Peter said.