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Volunteers Work to Restore 120-Year-Old Baseball Stadium in Chan - KOAM TV 7

Volunteers Work to Restore 120-Year-Old Baseball Stadium in Chanute's Katy Park

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CHANUTE, KANSAS - “There was the seat that I used to sit in all the time and I came in all the time and I kept score and a whole scorecard, 25 cents each, so you can imagine,” says 81-year-old Chanute Resident Norma Maring.

Maring remembers her days watching the Kansas Oklahoma Missouri (KOM) minor league play here in Katy Park. She almost never missed a game.

"I think I missed one game. And my mother just knew I was having an appendicitis attack and she told me I couldn't come. And I was not a very good teenager that night."

She's seen Hall of Famers like Mickey Mantle of Commerce, Oklahoma who once played here before they went big.

“He was just a young kid, and they signed him in Independence, Missouri to play for Independence as a member of the New York Yankees.  Well the day they signed him, the following day they came here and he played his first game right here in Katy Park."

Volunteers hope to bring the stadium back to its glory days, giving it a fresh coat of paint, and planting new seeds for a future generation of baseball fans.

"It's amazing. It's actually reinvigorated about a community. It takes me just a couple words out of my mouth whenever I call somebody and ask if they want to buy a sign or donate something and they're on it immediately,” says volunteer and Chanute City Commissioner Phillip Chaney.

A restoration project three years in the making is near completion, with a fresh facade, new grass, and a wooden fence in the works, organizers hope to keep with the stadium's historic charm.

“You know, you can't replace a stadium that's a hundred twenty years old. And that's had three hall of famers play here so I mean there's so much rich history and that's what we didn't want to lose,” Chaney says.

And as Maring sits in the seat she sat in everyday more than fifty years ago, she says the future looks bright for Katy park.

"A lot of memories, a lot of beautiful memories."

The season opener is this Sunday at 2pm.

Organizers are hoping to also get new dug outs, backstop, bathrooms, and to fix up the stands.

If you'd like to donate, you can do so on their GoFundMe page.

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