Due to the recent spate of violence in MLK Park, Hammond Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. and the Hammond Department of Parks and Recreation have decided to shut down use of the basketball courts at MLK Park on Lyons Street.
“This park is named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a champion of peace. I cannot sit by and watch this beautiful park be a haven for violence. The stupid acts of a few, if left unchecked, will ruin this park for the vast majority of law abiding and peaceful families, residents, and users of the park,” said Mayor McDermott. In June, Pulaski Park Skate Park was shuttered after repetitive vandalism and graffiti at the park. Over a month later the park was finally re-opened after increased police presence and other measures quelled the problem.
“When events happen and people disrespect our parks, I believe actions must be taken to remind everyone of the privilege we have in Hammond of having such nice parks. If people think bringing guns to a park where children play is a good idea, then we have a problem, both as a city and a society,” said the mayor.
MLK Park was re-dedicated in 2019 after an over $3M upgrade that included a new walking trail with pedestals along the way that included quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a splash pad, new basketball courts, playground, exercise equipment, and an eternal flame memorial to Dr. King. “We love our parks in Hammond. This is not the decision I want to make, but a decision I have to make at this time,” said the mayor.