There’s a new place to shoot hoops in Lebanon city.
The Joseph P. Sevco Jr. Basketball Courts were dedicated on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 2, at the South Sixth Street Playground, at Sixth and Elm streets.
Sevco, in whose memory the courts were named, was a longtime resident of the neighborhood. Born Oct. 8, 1937, he died on May 10, 1980.
“He was electrocuted while working overtime to repair electric wires that were attached to a pole damaged by a drunk driver,” Sharon Zook, president of the South Sixth Street Playground Association, explained. “Those he loved — his wife Gail and their four children, Todd, Lori, Mark, and Eric — faced an uncertain future. During those difficult years, his children spent hours at the court. The courts open the week he would be celebrating his 84th birthday.”
The courts were designed by Nick Thornton of Steckbeck Engineering Inc. Thornton, Zook said, “died unexpectedly at age 37, two years before the rebuilding began.”
Funding for the courts was provided through grants administered by the Lebanon County Commissioners, the Mark Sevco family and friends, the South Sixth Street Playground Association, the Nardo family, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Make A Difference of Lebanon PA, Chrisland Engineering, Mike and Donna Katos, Col. Jean Berkheiser, Jason and Susan Wolfe, “and many former South Sixth Street kids who spent their formative years on the court … and others who wished to remain anonymous,” Zook said.
“The playground association is thankful beyond words for the generosity of all those who invested into our neighborhood,” she said.
The dedication at 2 p.m. last Saturday was “a beautiful day, and filled up with people who were connected over the decades by the playground, particularly the court,” Zook added, noting the occasion “was like a family reunion spanning 70 years.”
The event included food, train rides, a pinata and other activities for children. Historic memorabilia was on display, including original playground equipment and basketball hoops from the early to mid-1900s, as well as trophies from playground competitions in the 1970s. A childhood friend of Sevco’s brought photos from his youth to share with Sevco’s family.
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