Outdoor Basketball To Return To Lakewood Park Late This Summer: LOBC Nears Fundraising Goal For Lakewood Park Location
The Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee (LOBC) is in the midst of its Paver Campaign for the Mark Vincent Dickens (MVD) court at Lakewood Park. The group paid in full the location at Kauffman Park and has raised 70% of the required $25,000 price tag for the Lakewood Park location. Although the path for LOBC was never easy, the group is looking to add the location near the end of the summer.
Before the Kauffman Park basketball courts were installed in September of 2010, the group spent a year and a half lobbying for a return of outdoor courts and healthier outlets for kids. With the Kauffman location intact, LOBC turns its attention to Lakewood Park and the installation of the MVD Memorial Courts, named in memory of Lakewoodite, Mark Vincent Dickens, whose promising life was cut short by cancer. Dickens was a 1996 graduate of Lakewood High School.
Kids growing up in Lakewood have seen a major decline in free outdoor recreational activities; an enormous shift from Mark’s days. This is further illustrated by the permit only policy of Harding’s baseball field and Garfield Middle Schools football field.
“With the rebuilding of our schools, Harding and Garfield are available via permit only. This has given our kids two less places to play.” says Stephanie Toole, co-founder of LOBC. “ We as a community have a civic responsibility to help combat childhood obesity. To do this we need to open these fields for our kids to get fit through play.”
LOBC also opposed the earlier closing hours for Kauffman Park.
“It absolutely sends the wrong message to residents when parks get closed earlier. We don’t need to close parks earlier, we need to increase park usage” states Nadhal Eadeh, the groups co-founder. “ We need to take an innovative approach to improving our park atmospheres and there are low cost ways to do that”.
To address divestment in parks and earlier closing hours, LOBC is proposing to add an internationally themed soccer field at Wagar Park, smoke free recreational areas, and a city wide parks ambassador program. They plan to give full details of these proposals to Observer readers in the coming months.
How can you help?
The high-quality hoops on a freshly-paved playing surface at MVD Memorial Court will be surrounded by a walkway built with personalized bricks containing the names and/or messages of supporters like you. You can purchase a brick (three different sizes available: $100, $500, $1,000) by downloading the order form from the Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee website or by stopping by Harry Buffalo (18605 Detroit Avenue) to pick up a form. Can’t afford a brick? No problem. Donations of any amount will be gladly accepted. Your support demonstrates to the kids of Lakewood that you truly care about them!
About Mark Vincent Dickens
Mark was born in Lakewood and graduated from Lakewood High School in 1996. Like many young people in Lakewood, he grew up playing basketball in Lakewood Park for countless hours after school and throughout the summer. Just as they affected many other kids growing up in Lakewood, the courts were a large part of Mark's upbringing. Many of his long-lasting friendships and bonds were formed there. In 2009, after a two year battle with testicular cancer, Mark passed away one month short of his 30th birthday.
Mayor Summers, as well as six of seven members of City Council, have officially endorsed our plans to construct the new hoops at Lakewood Park.
The Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee is a local non-profit organization that was started by Lakewood residents to help bring public outdoor basketball back to our city. LOBC is dedicated to making free outdoor recreation available to all of our residents once again.
Recreational basketball reaches far beyond “letting a kid be a kid.”
Your support provides many benefits for the youngsters LOBC serves:
- Social benefits: how to cooperate, how to follow directions; and how to respect for others;
- Psychological benefits: critical thinking, problem solving, and self-discipline;
- Physical benefits: fights childhood obesity (which has tripled in the past 30 years).