The City of Lakewood, which quietly removed all of its outdoor basketball hoops in recent years, will reintroduce a court at one city park sometime in the next couple of weeks. For years, public hoops have sparked controversy in Cleveland and area suburbs (“Where Hoop Dreams Die,” June 30, 2010).
Supporters say kids need a place to play, while critics claim basketball hoops will turn those kids into crack-smoking hip-hop artists.
For now, the crackheads win: Two side-by-side, half-court hoops will be installed on a tennis court at Kaufmann Park, which is tucked behind a Drug Mart in the middle of town. By November, they’ll convene another meeting to talk about whether anybody actually uses them for anything other than narcotics commerce. At that point they’ll keep the hoops, yank them, or possibly add more.
The Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee, a volunteer group charged with raising money to fund what once was the cheapest game this side of spin the bottle, has agreed to pony up $3,500 for new hoops and poles just like the ones the city dutifully destroyed in recent years. “We don’t think it will be a problem,” says co-chair Nadhal Eadeh, adding that pledges have already been secured. His group is also on the hook for providing volunteer court monitors.