New basketball courts at New Albany's Bevelhymer Park would honor Michael Lucey

Sarah Sole
ThisWeek group
Lindsay Harris of New Albany and Brian Smith, recreation superintendent for New Albany Parks & Recreation, stand with memorabilia from Harris' late son, Michael Lucey, at the site for proposed outdoor basketball courts to be built in his honor outside the public-services facility at Bevelhymer Park in New Albany. Lucey, who was a senior at New Albany High School and played for the Soupreme team in a New Albany recreational basketball league, died in a car crash in August.

Michael Lucey had participated in New Albany Parks & Recreation sports since he was in the second grade, but basketball was the sport he loved the most.

Now the New Albany Parks and Recreation Foundation is working to build two basketball courts at Bevelhymer Park, 7860 Bevelhymer Road, in Lucey’s memory, said recreation superintendent Brian Smith.

Lucey, a 17-year-old New Albany High School senior, died after an Aug. 2 car accident in Genoa Township.

Previous story:New Albany High School's Michael Lucey remembered as tall in stature but looming larger in kindness

New Albany High School senior Michael Lucey is pictured in Sunriver, Oregon, during a road trip to visit universities with his mother, Lindsay Harris. Lucey, 17, died from injuries sustained in an Aug. 2 car accident in Genoa Township.

Although Lucey played flag football and soccer when he was younger, “eventually basketball became his first love,” Smith said.

His mother, Lindsay Harris, said her son’s group of close friends were made through the recreational sports he played growing up.

Many of those sports were played at Bevelhymer Park, she said.

But the park currently does not have basketball courts.

Although Lucey played freshman basketball at New Albany High School, he decided to switch to the recreational league, Harris said. His sophomore and junior year, his team – Soupreme – won the New Albany Parks & Recreation championship trophy both years, she said.

Harris said she hopes her son’s legacy will live on with the children playing on the courts dedicated to him.  

“To have something right here in our backyard is going to be so great for the community,” she said.

Smith said the parks foundation is accepting donations via naparksfoundation.org for the project and looking to raise $300,000. The plan is to build two basketball courts with bleachers and shade canopies at Bevelhymer Park at the corner of Bevelhymer Road and Walnut Street. The courts would go in the park’s blue zone, which has exercise equipment and a fishing pond, he said.

Smith said he hopes to see the project completed by May.

Harris said she is planning a celebration for the courts’ opening.

Although the memorial for Lucey is the new foundation’s first project, Smith said, he hopes the group will hold a few events each year to fund projects or programs to benefit the community.

Parks foundations, such as this one, function as a charitable arm of city parks districts to help residents realize their dreams, Smith said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah