Joe Marcum, who addressed the audience, said he was delighted by the description of the park as Hamilton’s “new living room,” given its location near the center of the city.
He noted he and his wife of 73 years, Sarah, both are Hamilton natives. He said he first saw her in eighth grade walking up the steps of the former Wilson Junior High School. “And, after eight years, we were married.”
They donated $3.5 million to the park and were named 2015 Hamilton Citizens of the Year.
Joe Marcum recalled a visit from Guidugli and Smith that led to the donation: “We had no idea what they were going to talk about. I figured it might involve money, but I didn’t know what it was. They appealed to us, and when I heard it was a six-acre park in downtown Hamilton, my gosh, what’s better than that if you can do something with that?”
“So, we agreed, and the kids agreed: Let’s give it away, let’s go for it,” Marcum said. He called Smith “a good salesman.”
Three of the Marcums’ four adult children attended. Marcum noted they also have 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Jim Fitton, chairman of the board of the Hamilton Parks Conservancy, said, “This park was thought of decades ago by our forefathers … and it’s finally coming to fruition, and again, it happens because there are people committed to this community like the Marcums, like the community foundation, like the parks conservancy board, like the city council, like and like and like.”