Some Larimer residents upset over name of Costa basketball court | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

Some Larimer residents upset over name of Costa basketball court

Bob Bauder
1516548_web1_Costa-Court
Bob Bauder | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh’s naming of Costa Court in Larimer after a well-known political family has drawn fire from some neighborhood residents who say it should have been named after Tyrone Howard, a professional basketball player from Larimer
1516548_web1_Isayah-Bradshaw
Bob Bauder | Tribune-Review
Isayah Bradshaw, 10, shoots hoops on Aug. 8, 2019, on a newly renovated basketball court at Larimer Avenue and Shetland Street in Pittsburgh’s Larimer neighborhood. Isayah Bradshaw, 10, shoots hoops on a newly renovated basketball court at Larimer Avenue and Shetland Street in Pittsburgh’s Larimer neighborhood. Some residents were upset that the city christened it Costa Court after a well known Pittsburgh political family.

Pittsburgh on Thursday officially opened a newly refurbished outdoor basketball court in Larimer, but some residents objected to the city naming it after a political family from the neighborhood.

The city chose the name Costa Court because of the family’s record of public service and history in the area, according to Mayor Bill Peduto. The family, which includes state Sen. Jay Costa and former state Reps. Paul and Dom Costa, lived nearby for nearly 100 years and once ran a store on the site of the court, he said.

Several residents acknowledged the family’s record of community service, but said the court would have been better named after someone like the late Tyrone “Moon” Howard. He played basketball there and went on to become a member of the Harlem Globetrotters professional team. Howard died in 2013.

“He came from the community, and he was a professional basketball player, so it connects with the basketball court,” said longtime resident Betty Lane, 81. “I don’t have a problem with the Costas. The Costas have done a lot for the neighborhood. Maybe we can find some other building that we can name after Costa, but it seems more plausible and realistic that you name a basketball court after somebody who has played basketball.”

Pittsburgh spent about $100,000 on improvements, including a new surface, fence, drinking fountain and line painting, according to Public Works Director Mike Gable. The court at Larimer Avenue and Shetland Street was there for years, but had fallen into disrepair, he said.

City officials, residents and members of the Costa family gathered at the court Thursday morning for a ceremonial christening.

Peduto said the city owns other vacant property nearby and suggested it could be developed for other recreational uses, including more basketball courts, and named after neighborhood notables.

“A lot of activity could occur in an area right now that is just vacant lots,” he said. “We’re going to work with the community to find out what their plan is and then we’ve made a commitment to be able to put into our capital budget funds in order to make that happen, recognizing the individuals who called this neighborhood home, and at the same time being able to build something special for the neighborhood.”

Jay Costa and brother Guy, who served for decades in city and Allegheny County government positions, attended the event with their mother, Louise, 89.

They described Larimer as a great place to grow up and a mixed neighborhood where people of all colors lived together in harmony.

Jay Costa said his grandfather and others in the neighborhood started an annual Italian festival. His uncles operated Costa Brothers grocery on the spot and sold Christmas trees each year and fish on the sidewalk in front of the store during holidays.

“I can remember my uncles coming out from the store and saying, ‘Give this person a tree and don’t charge them,’ and, ‘Give this person some food.’ It’s just who we were in the community,” he said. “We saw first-hand the role that our uncles and others and my aunts all played in helping and supporting families. When they needed some support, some help, they were there to help them and assist them.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.