A popular island baseball field may soon join the ranks of other historically significant sites in Galveston.
This week, the city planning commission recommended that Galveston City Council grant landmark status to the Leroy Naschke Sr. Field in Lindale Park, 301 Albacore Drive.
The park is important to area residents, who want to ensure baseball games are played on the field for years to come, Frank Maceo said.
Maceo, a former District 3 councilman, has for the past six months worked to get the landmark designation passed.
“Any changes to that baseball field has to go before the landmark commission and their goal is bringing those pieces of property back to their original state,” Maceo said.
Built in the late 1950s, the ball field was a centerpiece for people growing up in the neighborhood, Mary Jo Naschke, president of the University Area Association, said.
The field is named after Naschke’s father-in-law.
“There’s a lot of people that you meet in a park environment and a ballpark just lends to that,” Naschke said.
Leroy Naschke Sr. helped bring Little League and Pony-Colt baseball to the island. He played for the 1938 Galveston Rattler American Legion baseball team and served as the president of Galveston East Little League for 25 years.
“Mr. Naschke was instrumental in developing the Little League program on the island, so that was the driving reason for naming the field after him,” city spokeswoman Marissa Barnett said.
Lifelong resident Robert Mihovil grew up playing in the park, he said.
“It was a hot spot and, back then, every house in the neighborhood had kids and every kid played baseball,” Mihovil said.
Now, the field is used less often, but Island Little League President Blanca Flores predicts the park will be used more in the future, she said.
Last year, while the fields at Crockett Park, Avenue S and 53rd Street, were under construction, Little League payers used the Lindale Park field, Flores said.
“All the neighbors were so happy to see all the commotion,” Flores said. “All the older people came out in the afternoon and they would stop by.”
She plans to continue using the park as island baseball continues to become more popular, she said.
Designating a baseball field as a landmark is a little unusual because the designation typically goes to buildings, city Historic Preservation Officer Catherine Gorman said.
The code allows the designation to go to structures, objects or sites at least 50 years old with historical significance, Gorman said.
“We’ve designated the Broadway Cemetery complex as a Galveston landmark,” Gorman said. “Kempner Park is also designated, along with the Garten Verein building.”
The neighborhood association wants to encourage more use of the park, Naschke said.
“One of the things we’d like to see is families getting out there more and more,” Naschke said. “We’ve seen a lot of that the last two seasons. Wouldn’t it be great to protect that for future generations?”
The city’s invested in improvements to Lindale Park in the past few years. In 2016, the city council approved more than $200,000 for playground equipment.
The city council will likely consider the final approval necessary to make the landmark official at its Feb. 28 meeting. If approved, the landmark designation would only apply to the baseball field.