Full Court Basketball Returns To Lakewood
After an 11 year absence, basketball returned to Madison Park on July 25. The Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee (LOBC) and the City of Lakewood opened Lakewood's first full basketball court since 2007. Kids, city leaders, community activists and LOBC members gathered on a sunny evening for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony. Also in attendance were LHS boys varsity basketball coach Alex Cammock and LHS girls basketball coach Mike Harper.
LOBC, a community organization that promotes outdoor hoops for Lakewood, spent years lobbying City Hall for the return of a full outdoor basketball court. Half court hoops have opened in recent years, with two at Lakewood Park and one at Wagar Park. LOBC leaders who lobbied many years for outdoor basketball include Roger Sikes, Manny Mahome, Casey Davis, Peter Grossetti, Art Gold, Nadhal Eadah, and Stephanie Toole. Ward 4 Council member Dan O’Malley, in whose ward the court resides, has been a strong advocate inside City Hall for the project.
Unlike previous basketball courts at Madison Park, the current version is located in the southern end of the park next to the softball field and LEAF Community Garden. The new location is designed to reduce noise impact for houses next to the park.
Sikes made opening remarks at the official ribbon cutting ceremony. Mayor Summers also spoke, as did O’Malley. Council members Tristan Rader and John Litten also attended the event, which included a cookout prepared by members of the Lakewood Fire Department. The ribbon was cut by a pair of Lakewood youths, and then players took to the court.
LOBC credits local kids for their lobbying efforts. “We really want to thank the kids who joined us these last two years,” said LOBC’s Casey Davis. “Their willingness to be involved and actually stand and speak is what made the difference.” The group hopes to continue growing the number of basketball courts in Lakewood. “LOBC looks forward to building on this momentum to expand access to high quality public basketball courts throughout the city,” said Sikes. For more info on LOBC, visit their Facebook page or their website at www.lobc.org.
Mike Deneen has extensive experience covering sports and community stories for the Lakewood Observer. Mike has been a Senior Industry Analyst for the Freedonia Group in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1998. He has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, NPR’s MarketPlace and has been quoted multiple times in The Wall Street Journal. He has made multiple guest appearances on ESPN Cleveland radio. Mike also writes for Inside Northwestern, a website that covers Northwestern Wildcat Athletics. You can reach him on Twitter at @MikeDeneen1