After months of strenuous work and constant planning, the Valpo Parks Foundation opened Samardzija Field at Tower Park. The Valpo community came together on Friday to honor the field that Jeff Samardzija, a professional pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, his family members, and other stakeholders in the Valpo community broke ground on in the fall of 2017. After the ribbon cutting ceremony, Valpo’s youth players took to the field for the first time.
Located at Tower Park, Samardzija Field is looked at as just one of the many great opportunities Valpo Parks Foundation is providing for the community. With the all-turf baseball field renovations and upgraded basketball courts, the iconic park is looking a lot different than it did when the Samardzija brothers played there in the 80’s and 90’s.
“It all started here,” said Sam Samardzija, brother and manager of Jeff. “We wanted to bring it back to what we thought it should have been back then. We wanted to make it look nicer than what we had.”
Looking through the arch at the new field, the differences are easily noticeable. There are brand new dugouts, red and green AstroTurf, a brick back stop behind home plate, and a new score board. Thanks to the new grounds, more games can be played, costs will be lower, and maintenance will be easier. This simplifies everything for the Valpo Parks staff, coaches, and players.
After hearing the speeches at the ceremony by the Valpo Parks staff, Sam Samardzija, and Mayor Jon Costas, all of those who made this field possible cut the ribbon, officially opening the park to the community. Two local youth teams also symbolically cut the ribbon before taking to the field later in the day.
“This is exactly what Valpo needs,” said Scott Carlon, coach of a local 8U softball team. “It’s a field where we can play both baseball and softball. It is in great condition and will bring out families. We wanted to take a look because we have been watching it from the road the past couple of months, so we finally get a chance to step out on the field.”
Making this project a reality depended on Valpo coming together as a community.
“That is how things are done here in Valparaiso,” said John Seibert, Director of Parks in Valparaiso. “The private and public sectors come together to make extraordinary things happen. That has just been a legacy here in Valparaiso and is just part of our history.”
Learn more about Valpo parks at http://www.valpoparks.org/.
3210 N. Campbell St. Valparaiso, IN 46385
Visit Valparaiso Parks Department Partner Profile