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Scrimmage opens Drake Goetz Memorial Park soccer field

SCRIMMAGE: The Huntington North boys soccer program held an inter-squad scrimmage last Friday to officially open the soccer field at Drake Goetz Memorial Park in Huntington.

by Eric Andrews - eandrews@h-ponline.com

Last Friday marked the long-awaited opening of the soccer field at Drake Goetz Memorial Park, as the Huntington North boys soccer program held an inter-squad scrimmage to officially open the field in Goetz’s memory.

The park, located at 4082 N 350 E in Huntington across the road from Union Church, exists to honor the life of Goetz, who passed away in an accident in November of 2017.

The vision for the park came from Goetz’s close friend, Carter Mertz, a member of the Huntington North boys soccer team, and the rest of the Mertz family. According to the park’s website, Carter and Drake became friends and “brothers” at the age of 3, sharing adventures in school, sports, church, vacations and free time alike throughout their childhood.

The duo always stressed inclusion in whatever they did. That principle is a focal point for the park, as a handicapped accessible playground will highlight the park upon completion next fall.

“It’s so exciting to see the community come together and support us with this project,” said Dianna Mertz, Carter’s mother who also serves as the president for the park’s board. “So far the park had been fully funded by grants and donations from businesses and individuals. Future fundraisers are in the works to help construct the playground.”

Groundbreaking for the four-acre park took place last May, with the soccer field—the first feature of the park to be finished—being completed last month. A basketball court and pavillion are scheduled to be completed later this year, with the playground, tennis and pickleball courts, restrooms and walking paths to come in the future.

The playground will be the first of its kind in Huntington, offering handicapped children a more convenient and inviting place to play, as similar playgrounds require travel to Bluffton, Ft. Wayne and Marion.

Donations for Drake Goetz Memorial Park can be made through the Huntington County Community Foundation.