Macon Council outlaws playing ball on streets

Macon City Council passed into law Tuesday an ordinance that makes the playing of sports in the street out-of-bounds.

The legislation allows the city to declare basketball and other games taking place on city streets and sidewalks a nuisance, making the matter treatable as a misdemeanor crime. Players and residents will be subject to police citation.

The law was approved 13-0 without much debate. Two council members — Tom Ellington and Rick Hutto — attending the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., were absent from the meeting.

Councilman Lonnie Miley, who sponsored the ordinance, said the law is necessary to address safety concerns. Players in the street can be struck by cars, he said, or can encourage violent confrontation if they do not want to move out of the way of passers-by.

“I just don’t think that on public streets that it is safe for them to be out there,” he said.

Miley said personal observation of the problem near his home had prompted him to write the law. Several residents have thanked him since he introduced it, he said, including one woman who had to drive several blocks out of her way to get to her home to avoid a street game that refused to move.

“That’s just not something we want,” Miley said.

Other council members said they had observed similar situations in their wards.

“It could cause contention,” Councilman Ed DeFore said.

Also on Tuesday:

Ÿ The council appropriated $10,500 to pay for an aerial survey of the landfill and an analysis of data to determine its remaining capacity. The landfill’s lifespan has been estimated from less than two years to 10 or 15 years. An exact determination is needed because it will cost the city tens of millions of dollars to pay for closure costs and subsequent monitoring in the years that follow.

Ÿ Mayor Robert Reichert introduced a mid-year budget adjustment that funnels $25,000 each to the Georgia Children’s Museum and the Tubman African-American Museum.

His proposal is intended to curb controversy that arose over a separate proposal that would fund the museums with the Cherry Blossom Festival’s share of hotel/motel tax revenue.

The budget adjustment will go to the Appropriations Committee for consideration.

To contact writer Matt Barnwell, call 744-4251.