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Downtown Evansville Gets A New Park

Fourth and Sycamore
Jon prell / WKDQ

The city of Evansville has just begun it’s bicentennial celebration with a look back at the city during festivities on Sunday at the Ford Center. Outgoing Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel also announed plans to build a ‘Bicentennial Park’ that will commemorate 200 years of existence. The park will be located on the old Kenny Kent lot on Second Street between Sycamore and Vine behing the old Greyhound bus depot. Weinzapfel said the park could potentially reshape the look and feel of Downtown by saying, “This park will offer beautiful, yet functional urban green space to attract residents and visitors alike to our Downtown area.”

While that may be true, is another park what we need in Downtown? We already have one at Fourth and Sycamore that was recently put up for sale in hopes of attracting a restaurant, bar or grocery store of some kind to help boost influx of traffic now that the Ford center is open, but instead, the guy who bought it wants it to remain a park.

So far, we have seen some Downtown businesses close since the Ford Center opened, most notably, Market 321 and Stratman’s Pharmacy and cafeteria. It seems to me, what we need are more more restaurants and bars and maybe a grocery store of some kind to accomodate the number of people who live Downtown and will continue to move there as more condo developments are available.

While a park to honor our hertiage sounds like a good idea on paper, it just seems out of place with the future goals for Downtown. Once Bicentennial Park is built, we will have two downtown parks within about 500 yards of each other each occupying space that could be much better utilized.

Bicentennial Park is slated to be used for concerts, movies, a farmers market and festivals. If in fact that does happen, great, then build something else in the park space at Fourth and Sycamore that goes better with the Ford Center. Something has to give as Evansville looks forward to expansion in the years ahead. The Ford Center is a great start to revitalize Downtown, but moving forward, is  another downtown park in the city’s best interest for the future? Only time will tell.

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