Marietta's Flanders Field has undergone a rebirth thanks to the hard work of volunteers and donations from civic-minded business people.
Tucked away in the historic Harmar neighborhood at the corners of Harmar, Pearl and Fearing streets, Flanders Field was showing signs of neglect. The softball field was overgrown. Bathrooms weren't working. Playground equipment was showing its age, to put it kindly.
The park wasn't attracting ballplayers or families looking for some quality outdoor time in a safe environment.
That's all changed now and at a minimal cost to the park's owner - the City of Marietta. City Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, who represents the area where Flanders Field is located. He said the city doesn't have much money to spend, so the financial help directed at the city park was especially appreciated.
The seeds of change started with the Marietta Sluggers youth baseball organization which needed a ballfield
Mark Duckworth, a member of the city recreation commission and Marietta Softball Association saw the Sluggers' need and the city's West Side baseball field as a good fit. Things took off from there.
The Marietta Sluggers leased the field from the city. The rejuvenation truly has been a team effort.
Moran Construction and Chip Ditchendorf Construction, both with offices nearby, pitched in to fix the bathrooms.
Duckworth Farms helped get the infield in shape with a big assist from Apex True Value Hardware.
Lumber for the dugout was purchased thanks to the Andy Woods Foundation, which has ties to the team's batting instructor.
Smith Concrete donated concrete. The city bought roofing material and donated chain link fencing.
Parents of the Sluggers are maintaining the field.
Meanwhile, the River of Life Church on Franklin Street arranged for a group visiting from the Akron-Canton area to repaint the playground equipment.
Flanders Field now is an example of what can happen when people work together for a common goal. If you haven't seen Flanders Field lately we urge you to check it out. It's a real showcase that not long ago was an example of blight in a neighborhood populated by people with a wealth of pride and energy.