Marion says goodbye to Thomas Park, new complex set to open this fall
MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - Even at the start of the season, the Marion football team knew they would be saying goodbye to Thomas Park Field.
“There will be a new football field right behind us in a couple years, so that will be nice” junior quarterback Alex Mota said back in August.
It’s been home to football games since 1936.
Earlier this week, the school district approved the construction of the nearly $6.4 million Marion Stadium Project. Led by Larson Construction, the plan is to break ground in March and completely relocate the stadium closer to the school.
Following the 2020 August derecho,, the stadium suffered significant damage.
“We repaired some of it at a basic level in order to be able to play our fall football season. We will have our spring track season there,” said Marion Superintendent Janelle Brouwer. “Our press box was damaged beyond repair. There’s temporary structure put in place right now. It’s been manageable, but certainly not what we would want long term,” Brouwer added.
Prior to that, it was already in need some upgrades.
“There’s been a renovation need. Restroom facilities that were underserved out-of-date, not enough stalls; things of that nature. The concession stand and parking is not accessible and there’s very limited parking,” Brouwer said.
October 15th, in their meeting against Mason City, marked the Wolves final home game at Thomas Park Field. Parkview Elementary will take its place, while the new sports complex plans to be completed by November of 2022.
It may not have the same aesthetic as the 86-year-old field, but it will be a place for new memories for the next generation.
“It’s hard to say goodbye to the past, but we’re hoping to bring some of those traditions into the new facility as well,” Brouwer said.
November 1 is the target date for the final completion of the new complex, which means the football team will not start the season playing at the new stadium. The school district is hoping to get in a few games this fall, but are looking for alternate locations - similar to when Linn-Mar opened up their field for the Wolves to play there.
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