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New Park in Davenport Will Honor MLK & Black History

A new park in Davenport will honor Martin Luther King and the importance of black history. This morning, Mayor Bill Gluba and members of the King Task Force announced the park will be located at East 5th Street and Brady. The city owns the property which is currently used as a parking lot.

Gluba created the task force a year ago to find a way to commemorate King's life and legacy. The members decided the 5th street site has the best connections to African American history in Davenport. But a developer, Newbury Living, also wants to build an apartment complex there. So,  the mayor says the task force and company worked out a plan to do both projects.
Dr. Ryan Saddler, from St. Ambrose University, is the chair of the King Task Force. He says East 5th Street was where blacks got off the train and found places to shop, eat, and stay overnight. Lindsey Pitts Salon was located nearby, along with a bar called, the Bluebird Tavern.

Bix Beiderbecke played there, so it's fitting for the park to be on the Bix route. And Louis Armstrong played there for several weeks.

The mayor also announced the Iowa Economic Development Authority has approved a $3 million grant, which will help the city pay for the project called, King Park Plaza.

Davenport, St. Ambrose, Palmer College, and other groups have already been working to create an African-American heritage trail. Gluba says the park will enhance the project and attract tourists.

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