Marcusen opens after makeoverPublished 11:04pm Thursday, June 21, 2012
After about four months of hard work by many volunteers, Marcusen Park is now a better place and it’s ready for baseball again.
The Marcusen Park Capital Improvement Project has completed its first of five eventual phases as fencing has been added, dugouts have been improved, the entire field was re-done and a batters’ eye was added in center field.
Mike Goetz was one of the many volunteers as he used his time off work to help rebuild the park.
“We had a lot of people volunteer in town and they brought in backhoes, skid loaders and all kinds of equipment. It makes the work go better and it’s not like we were out here with shovels digging,” Goetz said. “It’s just nice to see the facility kept up. A lot of people worked here or played here over the years and it was time for a good redo.”
The first phase receoved a boost thanks to a donation from Jeff Ettinger, who has always looked at Marcusen Park as a historic prize in Austin. Ettinger recalled 2004 when a flood nearly finished Marcusen, but he’s glad it’s still standing today.
“Marcusen was on it’s last leg, but there’s so many people that have put a lot of time, sweat and energy into really fixing it up over the years,” Ettinger, who is Hormel’s CEO and President, said. “The most recent work is a culmination of all that effort and it’s a beautiful stadium.”
Austin Greyhounds manager John Frein said the renovations to the dugouts may help Austin eventually host an amateur state baseball tournament. He added that the new field will be much easier to play on.
“Not having a batter’s eye is something we’ve complained about for awhile. Between horseshoes flying and car headlights, you can lose the ball when you’re batting. This will make it even for the hitter,” Frein said. “The field was actually bumpy before and now this will be one of the premier facilities as far as amateur baseball goes. The field needed an overhaul and it was long overdue.”
Frein was also quick to point out how many people volunteered their service towards the project.
“A team of people contributed,” he said. “They went to their real jobs during the day and then they would grind it out on the field for another few hours.”
Ettinger said he wasn’t surprised by how many people donated their time. It’s just the way Austin is as a town.
“This town has a great tradition of keeping up its wonderful assets from the Paramount Theater to the renovation of the Austin High School,” Ettinger said. “It’s perfect that you ended up with this and the college field (at Riverland) because that works great for multiple teams and large tournaments.”