On Thursday, October 5, 2023 Larson-Danielson employees joined officials and citizens from the City of Mishawaka, members of the 1954 Milan High School state championship basketball team, Mary Lou Wood, and many others at the Marvin’s Garden Park and Sculpture Dedication Ceremony.
Marvin’s Garden celebrates the life of Marvin “Marv” Wood, who moved to Mishawaka in 1969. Marv Wood is known as the “Milan Miracle” coach, the 1954 basketball team that was the inspiration for the film “Hoosiers”.
Honoring Marvin Wood
The park, which marks the end of the Mishawaka Riverwalk on the east side, was part of an expansion project of the Mishawaka Riverwalk that Larson-Danielson has just completed. Marvin’s Garden bookends the Riverwalk with Kate’s Garden, named for Catherine “Kate” Kosanovich, a long-time Mishawaka community leader.
The park and sculpture dedication ceremony at Marvin’s Garden on October 5 was well attended, in part because of the enormous impact Marv Wood had on the Mishawaka community. During his time in Mishawaka, he served as a coach, teacher, mentor, councilman, and historic preservation commissioner.
Marvin Wood’s widow, Mary Lou Wood was in the center of the action as the sculptures were unveiled. As the larger-than-life sculpture of Coach Wood was revealed, she commented, “I don’t remember Marv being so tall.”
The Dedication Ceremony
Speakers at Thursday’s event included Mayor David Wood; Executive Director of Development and Governmental Affairs, Matt Lentsch; Executive Director of Planning and Community Development, Ken Prince; local artist David Layman, and Indiana’s 1954 “Mr. Basketball,” Bobby Plump.
During the ceremony, Ken Prince, Mishawaka’s thanked the project team including sculptor, David Layman; designer, DLZ; and general contractor, Larson-Danielson Construction. Darin Meyer was the project manager and James Braun was the superintendent for the project.
Marvin’s Garden is an area where Mishawaka Riverwalk visitors can rest, relax, and reflect. The park features a bronze sculpture of the former head coach, paying homage to the scene from “Hoosiers” where Gene Hackman has his small-town players measure the court and rim height at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis to illustrate the dimensions are exactly the same as their tiny gym at home. The park and sculptures are intendent to provide inspiration to all underdogs.
The Mishawaka Riverwalk Extension
The Mishawaka Riverwalk is a circular system of trails on the banks of the St. Joseph River, from Logan Street to Cedar Street. The Riverwalk loops about 3.5 miles through downtown Mishawaka on both sides of the river with pedestrian bridges connecting it at strategic points.
Larson-Danielson’s recent work included the extension of the Riverwalk between Race and Cedar Street, as well as the addition of Marvin’s Garden. The $4 million construction project began in June 2022.
Park & Sculpture Dedication Ceremony Photo Gallery
Unveiling the statues in Marvin’s Garden at the Mishawaka Riverwalk
Statue depicting Milan Miracle 1954 basketball team players measuring the height of the rim is unveiled at Marvin’s Garden at the Mishawaka Riverwalk
Mary Lou Wood, Marvin‘s widow, waits for the statue of Coach Wood to be revealed at Marvin’s Garden at the Mishawaka Riverwalk
Mary Lou Wood gazes at the larger-than-life statue of her husband, Marvin Wood at Marvin’s Garden at the Mishawaka Riverwalk
The unveiled bronze statues at Marvin’s Garden at the Mishawaka Riverwalk
A board recognizes the project team at the Marvin’s Garden grand opening celebration in Mishawaka, IN