The drive-in movie night was yet another result of Steve Burgo's
vision and recurring commitment to provide a positive and purposeful destination and activity for SouthCoast youth.
With "Bee Movie" encompassing an inflatable Jumbotron-sized screen, blankets and beach chairs serving as the theatre, and popcorn, cotton candy and refreshments providing all the traditions of simpler times, Steve Burgo
successfully converted his
multiplex of basketball courts into a larger-than-life movie stage.
At $20 per car load and with video and sound quality surpassing that of any local indoor cinema, the night was complete with laughter, pick-up basketball games and a genuine sense of community that reminded us all what Dartmouth pride once was all about.
For those who have not experienced the complex - actually the community - that Steve
and Donna Burgo as well as tireless volunteers have created, stop by for a summer league basketball game, refine your once can't-miss jump shot or lend your support to continuing to build upon the Burgos' dream.
Photos by ANDREW T. GALLAGHER/Standard-Times special Expanding on what started as the Burgo Basketball Association
in Steve Burgo's
Dartmouth backyard, the Dartmouth Joseph Burgo Southeastern Regional Basketball Complex
continues to develop off Slocum Road.
For more information, visit the complex Web site at bbabasketball.com
or call Steve Burgo
at (508) 993-7945.
The journey has been anything but smooth sailing, but the final destination is appearing on the horizon.
only goal is to stay on course.
"It's been a long time getting there," said Burgo
, whose dream of a regional basketball complex is some seven years in the making.
"But we can finally feel it all coming together."
Burgo formed the Burgo Basketball Association in the late 1990s, with 80 players afforded the opportunity to play in a 10-team league.
Supervised games were played on a newly constructed court that sat in the middle of Burgo's backyard.
That Dartmouth yard became the proving ground for SouthCoast youth intent on honing their basketball skills but, more importantly, it gave them a chance to grow together.
"We need to reach more kids and let them know they're all the same," Burgo
Sitting down with a handful of people who shared his
devised a plan he
shared with the Dartmouth Selectmen and Planning Board in March 2000.
was seeking permission to build on the 12-acre McBratney parcel off Slocum Road.
The recently donated site, in Burgo's mind, was a perfect location.
brought a three-foot scale model illustrating the proposed layout, letters of support from within the community and promises of support from beyond Dartmouth's borders.
The proposal worked, with Burgo first awarded the land, then gaining promises of help from the Army Corps of Engineers for the massive construction ahead.
But when the events of 9/11 unfolded, those promises were suddenly withdrawn.
"Basically, we were forced to beg," Burgo
"Those people donated their time and helped clear the area pretty much on a daily basis," Burgo
"As soon as we got the land, I knew what I wanted and thanks to those guys and others like them, it's all starting to take shape."
Re-named the Dartmouth Joseph Burgo Southeastern Regional Basketball Complex
father, Steve Burgo's
project appears within months of completion.
also emphasized the purpose of the complex is not to attract the elite basketball player.
"On the contrary," he
Burgo spoke of Steve Gaspar, the boys basketball coach at Dartmouth High, who's done tremendous work for the youth of the community and recently joined as a board member.
"We all care about these young people and want to do whatever we can to create a positive influence on them," Burgo
dream focuses on the youth of Greater New Bedford.
"They need to know they're all the same," he
said while explaining the dream that was interrupted by a nightmare 16 months ago.
was a terrific young man," Burgo
As a youth growing up in the 1960s and 70s, Steve Burgo
was a basketball junkie who spent much of his
free time playing on the courts at Buttonwood Park
"I played four years of high school basketball at Dartmouth
, and the Buttonwood Park League
was a great place to improve your game in the offseason.
Everybody who was serious about the game of basketball wanted to play in the summer league," Burgo
And, back then, everybody seemed to get along.
That wasn't the case years later when Steve
tried to re-live his
youth through the basketball experiences of his
youngest son, Lance.
But, unlike his
dad, Lance was reluctant to talk about his
summer nights in the asphalt jungle.
"It was like pulling teeth trying to get something out of him," Steve
And when Lance did speak, he
talked about the game that was interrupted by a drug deal or the time teenagers with baseball bats came looking for someone Lance never even knew.
The stories were different, but the message was always the same.
friends and other kids who just wanted to play basketball couldn't find a safe place to play," Burgo
After hearing more than his
share of horror stories, Steve Burgo
responded the only way he
built a basketball court in the safety zone of his
Within months, the Burgo Basketball Association
was formed, featuring some 80 players competing in a 10-team league.
The man who had been involved in sports all of his
life without ever having to worry about where he
was going to play had made it possible for a younger generation of basketball players to share his
A decade later, the sharing continues through an expanded complex off Slocum Road in North Dartmouth - one that will eventually include five basketball courts, two sand volleyball pits, two tennis courts, a walking track and playground for outside activities along with a series of indoor basketball courts, weight and recreation rooms.
"We need to reach more kids, and this is my way of trying to do that," Burgo
"Losing someone like Kyle at such a tender age is a tragedy and so many people have been affected by his death," Burgo
Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and forms are available online at www.bbabasketball.com or by calling Burgo at 508-993-7945.
named latest "Hometown Hero"
HOMETOWN HERO: For his
continuing efforts to give local youngsters a safe environment for recreation through the Burgo Basketball League
at the Southeastern Regional Basketball Complex, Steve Burgo
was recently named the 150th Hometown Hero recognized by BankFive
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINA STYAN/The Chronicle
July 30, 2008 12:30 PM
DARTMOUTH - Bank Five and WSAR have named Steven M. Burgo of Dartmouth as their latest Hometown Hero.
Burgo was recognized for being a true champion for hundreds of SouthCoast youth by establishing the Burgo Basketball League to help keep kids on the basketball court and out of trouble.
is a motivated and caring individual," said Mr. Lyons.
It is a privilege to recognize Steve
as our Hometown Hero."
The Burgo Basketball League
was started in the backyard of Burgo's South Dartmouth home in 1994 after a frightening incident was experienced by his
son and friends at an out-of-town basketball court.
vowed after that incident that local youngsters would have their own courts to play on.
For additional information regarding the Burgo Basketball League
, call Steve
or Donna Burgo at (508) 993-7945 or (508) 951-3796, or visit www.bbabasketball.com
Dartmouth's Steve Burgo built basketball courts in an effort to keep kids safe.
ANDREW T. GALLAGHER/Standard-Times special
-- Basketball is Steve Burgo's
Keeping kids focused on life is his
For the past 11 years, about 120 teenagers from across SouthCoast have been drawn each summer to Mr. Burgo's
basketball court in his
backyard on Bakerville Road to play ball.
Under lights and far removed from today's urban violence, the 54-year-old former Sears
manager and local basketball star has provided teens with a safe place on hot summer nights to play basketball.
The only requirements are a love of the game, a pair of sneakers and a willingness to follow his
rules about proper conduct.
unswerving devotion to SouthCoast youth, Mr. Burgo
has been selected as The Standard-Times' 2005 Man of the Year for Da