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Churches, schools, city team up to fix up Asbery Field
MARYSVILLE — Asbery Field was blanketed with volunteers Oct. 11, as members of local churches, schools and city staff teamed up to “Serve Marysville.”
According to Kari Lewis, of the Turning Point Church in Marysville, more than 200 volunteers were drawn from more than half a dozen local churches, the Marysville School District and the city of Marysville Parks and Recreation staff, to descend on the baseball and football fields of Totem Middle School with gloves, shovels, wheelbarrows and backhoes.
The equipment came from Parks and Recreation, the school district and even the churches’ parishioners, and the labor was just as much of a joint effort as volunteers landscaped an area for a sign, refurbished and extended several trail paths, planted close to 40 trees, removed a batting cage, replaced bleachers and improved the fields themselves.
“Considering that it’s a hunting and soccer weekend, I’m grateful for this turnout,” said Greg Kanehen, pastor of the Marysville Free Methodist Church. “Our spring project had around 400 people, but this one couldn’t handle any more people than we already have.”
The project started at 8 a.m., and after less than three hours, Kanehen agreed with Lewis’ belief that their work might be done by noon, roughly an hour ahead of schedule.
“It’s exciting to see the volunteers’ level of energy and self-initiative,” Kanehen said. “They’re just jumping in wherever they see a need.”
Marysville School District Superintendent Larry Nyland was pleased enough to take direction on the project, hauling chain-link fencing, digging holes for trees and shoveling dirt to fill in the fields.
“I’m just helping out wherever I can,” said Nyland, who praised the partnership between the school district, the city and the churches. “This is school district property, but we want to make it more inviting for community use, and make it a welcoming entry to Marysville. It’s awesome that these churches care so much for the city.”
Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew explained that city staff had done preparatory work on the site during the preceding week, including digging holes for trees, pulling down the existing chain-link fencing, putting up retaining barriers and cutting sod for trail paths. The city also bought new chain-link fencing, soil, bark chips and trees for the project, but Ballew was quick to share credit.
“Homestreet Bank of Marysville paid $3,000 for a sign and landscaping around that sign,” Ballew said. “The last time we had a project like this, from 8 a.m. to noon, it added up to 6,000 man-hours. That’s a savings of $20,000 to the taxpayers in contributed labor. This is a really fun project.”
As Marysville School District Athletic Director Greg Erickson and Turning Point parishioner Darren Bailey teamed up to cut and roll up sod on trail paths, fellow Turning Point member Steve Ross used a small backhoe to dress the infield of the baseball field, scraping away plants and debris to turn it into a softball field. Brian Hughes, also from Turning Point, was joined by his daughter Kelly in spreading fresh dirt on the football field, to prepare it for reseeding.
“It’s for the places that are gouged and worn out from heavy skirmishes,” Kelly Hughes said. “That way, they won’t get so many turned ankles.”
Parks and Recreation employee Travis Pike used a large backhoe to dump dirt into a sizable depression near the outfield foul line of the baseball field, while his coworkers Jeramie Roth and Eddie Phelps leveled out the dirt to avoid “weird divots,” for much the same reasons as Hughes.
“It’s important to be involved in your community,” said Turning Point member Terri Wright, as she evened out bark chips on a trail path with her daughter Tricia. “This would be an expensive adventure for any of us to do on our own. I live here, so it’s my responsibility to take pride in this area.”
“For someone my age, it’s cool to see something that we can grow up with and pass on to the next generation,” said Tricia Wright, a student at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.