Will tearing down a handball court reduce Eagle Rock crime?

New surveillance cameras have been installed and additional security patrols have come and gone but crime, graffiti and illegal drug use remains a problem at the Yosemite Recreation Center in Eagle Rock.  What else can be done to improve safety? Some residents have proposed tearing down an H-shaped handball court – located in the center of the recreation yard – that Eagle Rock Patch describes as a “public menace.”  Other residents agree, according to the Patch story:

The court, located barely 20 feet from a children’s playground that recently received a $320,000 makeover, is a popular place to play handball. But its right-angled walls also serve as a hiding place for people to drink.

“Older men use the handball court to drink on weekends,” said Morgan Coxwell, an Eagle Rock resident who lives nearby and uses the park, along with his spouse, to take their toddler out on walks

The H-shaped court could be replaced with a single wall or with a basketball court, said the story. Other possible security measures discussed at a recent meeting included more lighting, improved security cameras and new signage to make it easier to report criminal activity.


  1. I take my kids to the playground quite a bit and see old-timers hanging out at the handball court with some beers, but I don’t see what the big deal is. They’re just chilling – I’ve never seen them bother anybody. Where’s the menace? I wonder if this is a case of changing demographics and newcomers being oversensitive.

  2. The area behind the pool gets tagged constantly and that beautiful amphitheater gets filled with trash. I would target the area behind the pool and deal with that first before a few guys drinking yb the handball court. What this area really needs is regular patrols by police. It’s a gorgeous area. The back part is perfect for a dog park, there would be eyes and ears there all day long…….

    • hey eastsidearts i work at this center and i see what i’ve seen in my 10 years working there… I deal with the gangs, drugs, and punks that come into the park…. but if you want to put a dog park in the back near the pool… where would you put the ample parking slots for patrons? The high school that is next door to the center produces alot of foot and vehicular traffic and if a dog park is suppose to be put in there it will quadruple the traffic the center can handle

  3. I’ve played tennis on the courts next to it dozens of times. What goes on there is no big deal at all. Calling it a ‘public menace’ is completely ridiculous and freaking people out for no good reason. Leave it alone.

  4. Calling all handball Player!!!!!!!!!!!! these courts are legendary to us!!!! handball has been played here for the past 40yrs!!! I CURRENTLY TAKE 8-10 OF MY LIL COUSINS AND NEPHEWS TO THIS COURT AND TEACH THEM THIS ONE OF A KIND STYLE OF PLAYING ON THIS COURT!!! AND THEY LOVE IT, ALWAYS ASK TO PLAY WEN EVER I HAVE A CHANCE!!! Nationally reconginized players such as Papa Dave Morones, Robert Morones, Randy Morones, Mark Zamora, Sabrina Zamora, Ivan Ruiz, Vic Perez, Vince Munoz, Ricky Ruiz, Shorty Ruiz, Eddie Chapa, Myself and countless players that have came and learned short wall 3-wall!!!! one of the last courts of its kind in the area!!!! PLEASE DO NOT TEAR THEM DOWN!!!


  6. These courts should not be torn down, they are a very rare version of the games standard version, where many top athletes go to train for big time tournaments, more provisions should be made to ensure the neighborhood is safer like better lighting and the ability to report any disturbancez, instead of attempting to knock down very needed recreational facilities for guys that are just drinking beer. to eli barajas your going to have to go to town meetings if your serious about saving these courtz

  7. I think this is a case of newcomers being over sensitive, If you never played or watched a game of handball then you are missing out on what’s been know as the perfect game. Handball is the national past time in Ireland and I know for a fact LAFD and LAPD have active handball players that play in national tournaments. LAPD has a boxing team for kids from the neighborhood and Irvine Middle School has a handball program for youths . Instead of looking for a negative side lets look at the positive side and save money by not tearing down these unique courts.

  8. The tagging and trash in the area behind the pool house is a bigger problem.

  9. I use the park daily and the handball court isn’t the problem. It can easily be seen from the parking lot or the street by the high school. The real problem is the isolated area behind the pool and the stone amphitheater.

    Those areas are isolated and can’t be monitored unless *cough* someone gets out of their car and patrols it on foot. It’s a beautiful pocket of green in Eagle Rock but the isolation makes it popular with kids who like to drink beers and smoke weed, something I don’t have a problem with personally, but the graffiti is relentless and the grounds are covered with broken beer bottle glass that park personnel don’t feel any responsibility to clean up. I can’t take my dogs there any more without their feet getting cut up.

    Several years ago we voted for a bond to make improvements at the park including PROMISED increased parking and surprise, surprise, they ran out of money before they got around to the parking lot. With the increased community activities at the center, parking (and the subsequent trash) now overflow and crowd onto Addison Way. Thanks, LA. Oh, and where are our sorely needed street lights and speed bumps for the reckless school traffic? Yeah, no money for that either, huh.

    That’s fine. No more bonds for you. Ever. Anywhere. You can’t be trusted.

  10. I first learned how to play handball at the Yosemite park handball court. My father taught me the game and he never drank a beer there. I then became an inter collegeiate handball athlete and won several national titles. I received my bachelors degree in business through a handball scholarship. I think by tearing down the court takes away from kids who are trying to achieve the same goal to get out of the neighborhood and receive a college education. Eagle rock high school handball athletes go to Yosemite park after school and if they practice enough they will essentially become nationally recognized players as well. I benefitted from the Yosemite park handball court in a positive form and I would like to see the tradition of handball be embraced by other young generations to come.

  11. Simplest solution, those who use the ball court: don’t drink there, and tell others who do not to. Dog park behind the pool: eyes and ears all day!

  12. I learned to play handball in Yosemite park, practically grew up there.
    I coach handball at a local middle school for years, students of mine who have graduated and are now attending Eagle Rock High have been playing at that court.
    The problem is not guys having a couple of beers and playing ball the problem is gang bangers and other stupid people.
    Authorities, park staff and handball players need to come together and get rid of the few idiots who ruin it for everybody.
    Growing up in high school the only thing that kept me out of trouble was handball, let’s share the sport.

  13. @Markitos: probably not a good idea for anybody to be drinking beers at the handball court. I bet it’s against the law. How about having beers someplace else? Following the rules is good for everyone. Keep the courts open and beer off site.

  14. after retiring from being a lawyer, i began teaching handball at washington irving middle school. as there were no decent handball courts at the time, i took a van load of students to yosemite a couple times a week. they had a great time learning the game and relating to the older players. several went on to college and a couple received full scholarships because of their handball skills. i still go there and play with friends i have made for life. of course there is an occasional beer, but that’s true of soccer, basketball or any other sport played in our parks. no problems are created. handball is needed in the community–there is no cost–you only need a ball and maybe gloves if you play with a small ball. please do not destroy something that is a positive asset to our community. mike kogan

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *