Hulne: Volunteers have kept Marcusen Park openPublished 12:26am Thursday, June 26, 2014
As the rain began to pour down last week and it was clear that Marcusen Park was going to succumb to yet another flood, I had my doubts on whether or not the 10th Annual SpamTown Challenge would go on as planned.
I should’ve known better.
The Park that was built in 1947 and has survived more than its fair share of floods, rose above the circumstances again to prevail. Before the flood even took place, members of the Marcusen Park Baseball Association were quick to take action.
Board president Kathy Serratore was out removing the 42 signs that surround the fences at Marcusen and she made sure all of the concessions were put in a safe place.
By the time the water overtook the park, everything that could be damaged was removed, and a few days later the water cleared. Luckily, there was zero dollars worth of damage to Marcusen, but then the real work began.
With the SpamTown Challenge scheduled to start just five days after the water receded, many volunteers had to come forth. There was also the issue of where the Austin VFW baseball team would play its home games last week.
Austin Parks and Recreation stepped up and allowed the VFW to play at Riverland Community College and the VFW baseball team helped clean up Marcusen along with the Austin Post 91 Legion baseball team, the Austin Blue Sox and the Austin Greyhounds.
Mike Goetz, who has saved Marcusen countless dollars over the years by fixing things, went through and did what he could after the flood, Joe Serratore spent 30 hours power washing away the dirt and Kevin Higbe came down to pick some rocks.
Much to my surprise, the Austin VFW baseball team was back in Marcusen Park playing a doubleheader Wednesday night with the field looking as good as ever— just a handful of days after the park was underwater.
It has been 10 years since the MPBA has run Marcusen after the city of Austin handed it over to them and the Park certainly hasn’t stayed open on its own. There have been many volunteers and sponsors from all around town that have always answered the call whenever the waters get high or a fund raiser is needed to improve the Park.
While Marcusen doesn’t usually draw big crowds on game nights, it is pretty clear that there are plenty of people in town who still cherish it. Whether they like the location, which is tucked away on its own without any distractions nearby, or they they remember the good old days of the Austin Packers baseball teams that used to fill Marcusen to capacity, there are people who like to see the Park stand.
So if you happen to swing by the SpamTown Challenge, which begins Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and runs until Sunday, make sure you take a little time to appreciate the hard work put forth to keep Marcusen going.