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Councilwoman Questions Plan for Basketball Courts at Lakewood Park

Plans call for two middle-school sized, half courts in the grassy area just west of the Lakewood Skatepark. Not so fast, says Lakewood councilwoman.

It looks as if has called for a timeout in the game plan to open basketball courts at this year.

Council agreed Monday to discuss concerns brought up by at-large councilwoman Monique Smith.

She urged the administration to answer a few questions before moving forward on a proposal to support the Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee in its effort to install two middle-school sized, half courts in the grassy area just west of the Lakewood Skatepark.

Smith, the only member of council who didn’t sign a letter of support for the project earlier this year, said she like to discuss the issue further.

In a prepared statement, she outlined more than a dozen questions and concerns she has about the proposal.

Some of them included how the plan has evolved; the projected timeframe, including start date and completion date; and a “definition of goals and target population that we are attempting to serve.”

Aside from — where there’s been a — there are no public outdoor basketball courts in Lakewood.

The last public court was removed in 2007.

“I don’t necessarily want to see basketball shut down for all time, but I do want to see it managed successfully,” she said, adding that she’d like to see a plan for supervision built into the proposal. “I am concerned about some of the reports that we’ve gotten from the Kauffman courts.”

A couple of residents who live near the Kauffman Park court took the opportunity at Monday’s council meeting to speak out against proposal.

“I feel I have been ignored,” said one resident at Monday’s council meeting. “Please consider the location of where you are putting these courts.”

Mayor Michael Summers said he’s willing to discuss the issue further with council.

“They’re reasonable questions,” he said. “A lot of them I thought we’ve answered through the process, but if not, we will re-answer them.”

“I’ve been an advocate of building this court since the beginning.”

that the city will likely help out with the work, but the effort is being coordinated by the LOBC.

The citizen-led volunteer group has worked for months to get the courts built, and has already raised a majority of the $30,000 needed to build the hoops.

The organization is still seeking donations to get the project off the ground.

Ward 2 councilman Tom Bullock said he would “certainly welcome a conversation” about Smith’s concerns, but said he supports the project moving forward, and would like to see the project under way “before the snow starts falling.”

Bullock referred to a 2001 Lakewood Park master plan that calls for basketball hoops at the park.

“This is a perfectly legitimate request to discuss this in committee of the whole,” said council vice president Mary Louise Madigan. “It’s just public discourse.”

More information — including many of the answers to Smith’s questions — is available on the LOBC website. Click here to buy a brick that will support the construction of the Mark Dickens Memorial Court.

Steve September 05, 2012 at 02:20 PM
@Ken-You hit the nail on the head. It is the same song and dance they gave to have the bullie breeds BANNED from Lakewood. They were more concerned about the questionable people that owned these fine dogs, than the dogs themselves. But they wont come right out and say that, just rephrase it to suit their judgements.
Allison Smalley September 05, 2012 at 03:09 PM
You hit the nail on the head as usual Steve.
Alex Vandehoff September 05, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Monique has a lot of time on her hands to write that letter since she's incapable of providing her income disclosure statements on time.
Steve September 05, 2012 at 06:33 PM
@ Peter, how many of these questions were already answered, but NOT heard???
ian king September 05, 2012 at 08:48 PM
HI Ken - lets call it like it is. Lakewood has changed since the 2001 master plan. There are clearly a lot more folks hanging around town that, well, are questionable in terms of what they are just doing hanging around town! Also, supervision is a key important consideration here. Gangs are here in Lakewood and a fact of life. Take a walk down Detroit anytime and you can see folks who are certainly somewhat questionable in just what are they doing and hanging out for. I have seen more than one drug deal go down in the Walgreens parking lot at 117th and Detroit in broad daylight. So lets not get into the politically correct game calling. It is a well know fact that in most urban cities unsupervised basketball courts have attracted gangs, drug deals, underage drinking, and other security/noise/safety concerns for neighbors. I am not a racist, bigot or whatever you want to call someone who speaks the realities of life in Lakewood today, not 2001. These concerns need to be addressed and talked about before building these basketball courts.

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