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Lakewood reopens basketball court at Madison Park following shootings

The city has increased the number of police officers at the park and will also 'enhance' its community mentorship program.

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — The city of Lakewood has reopened the basketball court at Madison Park, less than two weeks after shutting it down while police investigated a shooting at the location.

Mayor Meghan F. George confirmed the immediate end of the closure Thursday, with a statement from City Hall again stressing the move was always planned to be temporary as detectives collected evidence. More officers will still be patrolling the park "as a continued safety precaution," and a community mentorship program will be "enhanced" at the courts.

The April 13 shooting was the second at Madison Park this year, and it led to an 18-year-old being taken to the hospital. Two teens have since been arrested in connection with the incident, with one charged with attempted murder.

Police Chief Kevin Kaucheck recommended the indefinite closure of the court due to it being a crime scene, and days later the basketball hoops were removed and cited as evidence. The measure angered some residents, who felt it was unfair to kids wanting to show up and play.

"[We can't be] equating basketball to gun violence, because basketball is not equal to gun violence," Casey Davis of the Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Court Committee told 3News at the time.

Now that the court is open again, its expected to be busier than ever. Local company Landing Point Financial Group says it will hold its block party at the location Saturday at 4 p.m., and that there will be a youth panel to discuss upgrades and construction in the area.

"We are so excited to continue our plans to build community and activity around the court to help ensure everyone’s safety," Davis, who also serves as a spokesperson for the group, said in a separate statement.

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