Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 24, 2014

Group selects Iowa MLK memorial site

Aug 01, 2014

DAVENPORT (AP) — After a six-month decision-making process, a Davenport task force settled on the future site of a memorial park honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The park will be located at the corner of Fifth and Brady streets, where a public parking lot currently stands, The Quad-City Times reported.

Ryan Saddler, director of diversity at St. Ambrose University, led the 17-member panel that decided the park's new home. The group formed in December in response to Mayor Bill Gluba and the Rev. Rogers Kirk's desire to celebrate the legacy of the civil rights leader.

After considering several other locations, Saddler said the panel selected the space at the corner of Fifth and Brady streets because they wanted the park close to downtown in a highly visible area.

"Additionally to the location being prime with excellent visibility, there is a deep history to the property," he said.

In 1965, King spoke at the Masonic Temple, formerly located across from the lot. Saddler said the property housed a mixed-race restaurant, entertainment and rooming houses for at least six decades, from the 1880s to the 1940s.

He said the park will not only honor King, it will also honor the area's black history.

"It is a way to preserve our local history and educate the youth on our local history and link it to our civil rights," he said

Plans for the park aren't complete. The city still needs to figure out funding and design. Some proposed ideas for it include a statue of King, a fountain, an amphitheater, seating areas and gardens.

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