Friends of Hemming Park are celebrating the downtown gathering spot's past and future.
On Tuesday, Friends of Hemming Park hosted their latest activity in the park: a celebration of the parks birthday. The park’s 152 birthday was celebrated with cake, live music, prizes, and a speech from board member Wayne Wood. The celebration will become an annual event to honor the day the park was deeded to the city.
The celebration is the latest activity created in order to revitalize the park and attract more visitors. The park has suffered some setbacks affecting its number of visitors, such as GastroFest moving to the Museum of Science and History this spring and a scaling back of other downtown events such as Art Walk and One Spark.
"It's kind of nice to see Hemming Park doing something new. I really like the changes that are happening," local Dwitt Cooper said as he passed through the park. "I'm excited about the programming that’s happening."
Passerby's trickled through and grabbed a slice of cake from Cristina Parrish-Stone as she stood under the event tent. As the Director of Events and Programming she sees the event as another way to get people to enjoy the park.
“It’s really just a way to get people downtown, stop in the park, think about the history of the park and celebrate the fact that we are making progress,” she said.
Board member Wayne Wood spoke at the event giving a brief history of the park. Wood said the organization has acknowledged the problems that have been associated with the park, ranging from security to the homeless population to the cleanliness of the park. The organization is ready to bring people downtown and show that they addressed the issues, he said.
The organization plans to continue hosting events in the park to bring in visitors, including a DJ to host a dance party for Art Walk and an event to celebrate Black History Month in February.