To generations of Lebanon kids it was simply “the Beautex.”

Named for a long-gone factory that once occupied the site, the 4.4 acre playground tucked off Lebanon’s North 12th Street, right by the railroad tracks, is easy for passing drivers to miss, but its basketball court, ball field, playground, and clubhouse have been the hub of hundreds of North Side kids’ summer vacations.

Slowly but steadily, years of hard use and budget constraints took a toll, and the City-owned park at 1219 Van Buren Street had fallen into disrepair by 2017 (paywall).

Now, a two year public-private renewal effort, spearheaded by non-profit Making A Difference of Lebanon PA, is complete, and all that remains is the official community celebration at the playground on Friday, June 21 at 5:15pm.

Working with Making A Difference, neighbors, private donors and sponsors, and the City of Lebanon raised about $41,000 for the project, and almost every corner of the Beautex has been repaired, restored, and updated.

The clubhouse has been painted and new backboards, benches, signs, garbage cans, surveillance cameras, and playground equipment have been installed.

A new and unusual feature at the Beautex, one that wasn’t anticipated when the project was first being planned, is what is believed to be Lebanon County’s only regulation handball wall and court.

It has led to the formation of a local handball league, and a tournament held in May drew players from Lebanon and surrounding counties.

Lebanon County’s only regulation handball court.

Cornell Wilson, Making A Difference’s president, is looking forward to the June 21 celebration, which coincides with the second anniversary of the organization.

He’s even more excited that the Beautex is ready to serve local kids for many years to come. “I played here when I was a kid,” said Wilson. “I want to see kids today enjoy it like I did.”