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Madison Park in Lakewood rebounds after 2 shootings near basketball court

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 10:55 PM EDT
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LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WOIO) - More than a year after two shootings at Madison Park in Lakewood sparked a series of changes, the young athletes who use the basketball court believe the area is much safer now than it was last spring.

“Since the community has gotten involved, a lot of drama has stopped,” said Angel Matis. “It brings a lot to the community. We have people come [have] picnics just to watch people play.”

In April of 2021, shots rang out near the basketball court for the second time in about a four-week span.

Nobody was killed in either shooting.

Shortly thereafter, the basketball hoops were removed, which led to protests by community members.

“I felt like it was a personal attack against me, and a personal attack against Black and brown people making broad-based assumptions that didn’t need to be made,” Angelina Steiner told 19 News.

She and other members of the Lakewood community formed the Madison Court Community Coalition, aimed at improving the area surrounding the court to create a more welcoming environment.

Their vision, along with new funding from city government, led to the addition of bleachers, picnic tables, a walking path, drinking fountains and community grills.

As a result, more people have been spending time at the park with their families.

“When you have people that are part of the park, they serve as natural guardians and caretakers of the park,” said Steiner. “They’re the eyes and the ears.”

Matis said the basketball players are noticing a difference, too.

“People feel a lot safer,” he told 19 News. “I know I took a break [from playing] when the shooting happened.”

On Sunday, June 19, the Madison Court Community Coalition is holding a Juneteenth celebration at the park from 4 to 6 p.m.

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