Nothin’ but net.
After weeks of discussion, planning and development, Lakewood Recreation Department commissioner Erin Fach received unanimous approval from the Board of Education at Monday’s regular meeting to move forward with a pilot indoor basketball program.
Despite some early apprehensions from board members — such as security concerns and injury liability — the board OK'd the program relatively quickly.
Although it hasn't begun yet, the schools' program hasn’t undergone the same sort of scrutiny and contention, when compared with the outdoor pilot basketball program at Kaufmann Park.
All games will take place on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday evenings. They will be supervised, students and adults will play within preset age groups (children 11 and under accompanied by parents, ages 12 to 14, ages 15 to 18 and adults 18 and over) and basketballs will be provided, Fach said.
To accommodate as many players as possible, the gyms will be split into two courts and teams will play five on five basketball. The start date is tentatively set for July 11 and will extend into early to mid August. The entry fee is $15 per player.
Fach decided to establish the short timeframe due to the lack of availability as indoor fall sports will soon gear up at Lakewood City Schools and because he and the board will want to evaluate how successful the program was to determine whether or not to officially launch it.
“I think you’ve just about addressed everything conceivable in the proposal that’s here,” school board member Ed Favre said. “I can’t think of any other base that we can touch, and you know this is going to be a lot like any other recreation program.”
“Obviously, security and the respect for the building is paramount, and I think that’s covered and I think that the administrative staff and recreation department can tally up the data and count the numbers and crunch it and come back to the board at a later time to see if we should continue with it in the future.”
To help cover the $2,800 in costs for the month-long program, Fach hopes to see anywhere from 50 to 200 entrants.
School board vice president John Kamkutis offered a positive prediction saying, “Once this thing gets going it’s going to go big, and I think we’ll be fine.”
More on basketball from City Hall
Just up the street from the school board meeting, at Lakewood City Hall, more than 100 people showed up to the city council meeting to show their support for basketball in Lakewood.
At the city council meeting two weeks ago, some neighbors of Kauffman Park complained about noise and profanity from the courts. Many of those in attendance hoped to show council another side of the story.
Although there weren't any basketball-related issues on the agenda, the basketball enthusiasts expressed interest in expanding basketball to other city parks.
Nadhal Eadeh, the co-founder of the Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee, was one of several to address council. He praised the school board for passing the indoor basketball pilot program.
"There are a lot of positive stories going on at Kauffman Park," he said, "but I think it's really common sense to expand (basketball) to other parks in the city ... I just don't think it's good enough to say that we'll explore options."
Lakewood Patch Editor Colin McEwen contributed to this report