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Friends of MLK Announce Commemorative Park in Davenport


A park honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will open in Davenport this summer. This morning, the Friends of MLK held a press conference to announce the MLK Commemorative Park at 501 Brady Street.

Chairman Ryan Saddler says the park will serve as a gathering place, a celebration spot, and a memorial to Dr. King.

Friends of MLK

"The property was the location of a mixed-race restaurant, entertainment and rooming houses from at least the 1800s to the 1940s. The first African-American owned business was located on this property--a gentleman by the name of Lindsey Pitts. He was a former slave from Missouri and a veteran of the Civil War."

The stories of Pitts and other local figures will be featured in the park. Saddler says it's meant to celebrate not only Black leaders, but a variety of Quad Citizens who fought for civil rights.

"What I hope this park represents most off is our togetherness. That we are better together. I think we hear that, but I think the example that Dr. King showed was that we could actually be that--we could do that. But it takes effort."

The MLK Commemorative Park will cost around one million dollars, half of which has already been raised. A lot of the money is from the City of Davenport and the Downtown Davenport Partnership.

The Friends of MLK hopes to break ground in April, with the park opening this summer.

Aaryan Balu first set foot in audio journalism at WTJU Charlottesville and WRIR Richmond, and now works as WVIK Quad Cities NPR's Fellowship Host.