Marion’s Lincoln Park stadium awarded grant money from state for

After a delay caused by COVID-19, a historic baseball park in Marion is finally getting its facelift.

The Lincoln Park stadium, located on 879 N. Prospect St., will undergo construction in an effort to restore the nearly 100 year old ballpark. This stands as the first phase of the restoration project which will include demolition of the underside of the stadium, the top side of the press box and old wheelchair ramps. Marion Auditor Robert Landon said barring any hiccups caused by COVID-19, the project is expected to be completed sometime in the summer.

“Things seem to be trending in a little bit more of a positive direction right now with the vaccine rollout so I think everyone is hopefully that, as long as everything continues in that direction, that project should go forward,” Landon said.

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Scott Stover, president of Restore the Glory Marion, a nonprofit spearheading the project, said the end goal of this first phase is to lay down a solid foundation for future improvements. Once this is completed, he said they can move on to tackling other goals such as adding concession stands.

More recently, the project was awarded a $392,000 grant from the state, according to a press release from the Marion Auditor’s Office. Though this won’t cover all costs for future phases, Stover said it’s a good chunk to do real improvements rather than minor ones that don’t truly address issues.

Lincoln Park stadium was once home to the Marion Red Socks, a minor league baseball club, from 1949 to 1951. It was originally supposed to receive repairs last year, but due to COVID-19, those repairs were delayed. As it closes in on the century mark, Landon said the ballpark was due for restoration.

“The stadium was originally built sometime in the 30s or 40s when [Franklin D. Roosevelt] was president,” he said. “It was a Great Depression project and its one of its kind that is still standing today.”

Landon said he and many others involved are excited about this project. He hopes it will provide a financial boost to Marion as well. With more people coming out-of-town for travel baseball leagues, he wants to see Lincoln Park become more of an attraction for visitors.

“Sports has that ability to attract other people into your community and you feel those effects when they go out to eat, or if they go shopping,” the auditor said.

Stover echoed Landon’s sentiments. He said he and his team are very excited for the project, especially after the delays last year. He said it was disappointing to see COVID-19 hinder the momentum they were building, but now things seem to be getting back on track.

Stover said what future phases hold depends on donations to the project. He said he hopes to get a new press box built, re-add box seats to the stadium and make improvements to dugouts. Additionally, artificial turf is a big goal for the stadium, but again, that depends on the amount of money available to do so.

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Marion’s Lincoln Park stadium awarded grant money from state for

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