Plans are progressing for the dedication of Patriot Park, the recreational complex that is being developed around the Marshfield Aquatic Center.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, the community will gather at the park for a naming ceremony for the outdoor pool as well as a dedication and naming of the park itself. As decided by the Marshfield Board of Aldermen at the July 11 meeting, the park’s new name, Patriot Park, will honor members of the military, veterans and first responders, while the pool will be named for a local war hero, Dr. Tommy Macdonnell.
In a striking coincidence, The Marshfield Mail ran a planned feature story in the first issue following the decision to name the pool after Dr. Macdonnell. And in another coincidence, Mayor Robert Williams said that the Patriot Park Advisory Committee learned from his family that Dr. Macdonnell was actually the first life guard — but this information was imparted only after the board decided to name the pool after him. (A smaller coincidence: Today’s Mail features a story about current pool lifeguards in our “How It Works” feature on page 10A.)
Natalie McNish, a member of the citizen committee that has come together to make plans for the celebration and eventually for the park itself, described her group. Three people represent area veterans' associations (the VFW, the American Legion and the Webster County Veterans Memorial Association). Others represent fire and emergency medical services, police and other law enforcement, the county's Children's Division, the Parks and Recreation Committee, the Webster County Historical Society and the city. An architect is also on board to help with planning and design.
"We tried to make sure that we had representation for each group we're trying to honor and not necessarily have it be active members of those groups," McNish said. "We wanted it to be people who wanted to support those groups. Our goal is to make sure it's the community who is honoring our patriots and not our patriots honoring each other."
McNish stressed the importance of planning for the 40-acre site. "It sounds like there'd be plenty of room to go hog-wild, but the truth is we have plans for that land, and we want to be sure elements coexist."