CBRC searching for new venue, eyes Lakemont Park

The Central Blair Recreation Commission is exploring options for the 2019 Mansion Park Summer Basketball League.

Refurbishing and expansion of the tennis courts at Mansion Park will eliminate the basketball courts, forcing the league into a new venue.

Courts at the Pleasant Valley Elementary School will be used this year after the basketball courts at the Leopold Complex were bulldozed as part of the new Altoona Area High School.

“It looks inevitable that the (Mansion) basketball courts are coming out, and there will be a tennis complex,” Mike Hofer, executive director of the Central Blair Recreation Commission, said.

Hofer said “we’re weighing options internally,” and one emerging possibility could be Lakemont Park, which is closed this season for restructuring.

Hofer and Skip Dry, Mansion Park league director, have met with Lakemont officials.

“They’re talking about putting (basketball) courts in there,” Hofer said. “We’ve had preliminary discussion, and that is definitely an option we’ll be considering. If everything works out, that could be the place we are next year.”

Lakemont Partnership spokesperson Andrea Cohen called the possibility “exciting.”

“We’ve only been getting positive reaction,” she said.

Hofer said it’s his preference to operate the league “all in one place,” and proposed plans at Lakemont include four basketball courts.

Regardless of venue, Hofer said, “It’s our plans to keep it running and strong.”

The Mansion courts are currently facilitated by the Altoona Area School District. That would change if they move to Lakemont, but Phil Riccio, Altoona Area High School athletic director and CBRC board member, projects Lakemont as a potential site for other recreational activities.

“Lakemont, Central Blair Rec and the school district see this as a great opportunity with Lakemont Park with other things going on in the same venue,” Riccio said. “We’ve worked together to hopefully see this through. The venue is so nice, and it has so much room.”