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Park field to be named for former youth football coach

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis officials have created a permanent way to honor the legacy of a youth football coach who was killed this year.

The multipurpose field at Tarkington Park will bear the name of Richard Hamilton, known to many as Coach Nell.

The Indy Parks and Recreation Board made the change on Tuesday.

In January, Hamilton was shot and killed during a road rage incident in Greenwood. He had coached the Indy Steelers youth football team for more than a decade.

As News 8 has reported, current and former players petitioned the city to make the name change.

Tarkington Park is set to undergo improvements worth $3 million.

News release

“INDIANAPOLIS – Tonight the Indy Parks and Recreation Board approved two name change proposals during its regular board meeting. What is now known as Bethel Park is to be renamed ‘Stanley Strader Park’ and the multi-purpose field at Tarkington Park will be named ‘Richard “Coach Nell’ Hamilton Field.’

“Bethel Park, located at 2850 Bethel Ave. will now be known as Stanley Strader Park. Born in 1939, Strader was a lifelong resident on the southeast side of Indianapolis. He attended Lane College to study Urban Affairs, and later worked at Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) in the Human Resources Department and at Camp Atterbury as the Recreation Program Director. In 1969 Strader became involved in the Community Action Against Poverty (CAAP) and the United Southside Community Organization. He was the founder of the non-profit organization Watoto-Wa-Simba, Inc (The Young Lions) in 1971.  In 1980, Strader was elected to the City-County Council where he served for 10 years. Straders commitment to his community led to an investment of over $20 million for projects such as the Bethel Park upgrade, Bean Creek drainage project, the Barrington sewer project, restoration of the fountains in Fountain Square and more. Straders achievements for the southside community will continue to live on through this park name dedication.

“Tarkington Park, located at 45 W 40th St., is comprised of two playgrounds, basketball courts, a performance shelter, a multi-purpose field, and more. Dating back to 2005, the Indy Steelers Youth Football team saw thousands of local youths out on the multi-purpose field practicing each season with Coach Nell at the center of the team. News of the $3 million investment to bring improvements to Tarkington Park through the Lilly Endowment’s $80 million grants came earlier this year. Six days after receiving the news of field improvements for his team, Coach Nell died during a road rage incident. Coach Nell’s legacy lives on through the thousands of football players he coached throughout the years, and now will be remembered during each game played on the field.”

Isabel Ramsey, public information officer, Indy Parks & Recreation, on March 21, 2023