Basketball Court honoring Sidney youth coach opens for play

SIDNEY, NE — What was just a dream over a year ago now reality.

The Alan Hartzler Memorial Basketball Court in Sidney officially opened Saturday.

Alan was a big supporter of youth sports in Sidney, coaching basketball. He always thought Sidney lacked an outdoor basketball court. After his passing in December 2019, his family made it their mission to build a court in their honor.

Alan’s lifetime friend, Wyatt Surber detailed Alan’s wife Mickie’s determination during the opening Saturday.

"We wondered early on at what point do we need to get her to say what else would be acceptable to do in his memory," Surber said. "She was relentless is making sure this project moved forward."

That determination held fast, leading to a groundbreaking in June 2021. Two months later, the court is finished. Alan and Mickie’s grandson, Kaden, took the ceremonial first shot and made his grandfather proud, hitting the shot from the free-throw line.

Sidney Mayor Roger Gallaway was unable to attend, but pointed out the importance of the court during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

"I really do think it's a great thing they're doing for the community," Gallaway said. "It's something the community has needed for a long time. We're certainly very appreciative of that."

Mickie says she hopes all the kids in Sidney make use of Sidney’s newest park addition.

The court is located next to the tennis courts in Legion Park on the grounds of the former pool. The city will oversee its maintenance.