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Scenic, social justice park opening in downtown later this month

The vacant lot at E Broad St and Cleveland Ave will officially be Washington Gladden Social Justice Park before the end of the month.

The greenspace will include an interpretive path, relaxing water feature, and large-scale art project serving as the backdrop of the park.

First Congregational Church, which owns the property, also plans to host programs tied to social justice at the park.

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“The park is open to all, regardless of beliefs and views, who are willing to offer open minds to seek understanding of diverse interests and values and to promote the common good,” says Washington Gladden Social Justice Park website. “It is to be a safe haven for those feeling oppressed as well as a starting point for all to build the path to a better future.”

The $3.7 million project will be a tribute to Rev. Dr. Washington Gladden, a former minister at First Congregational Church as well as a staunch advocate for social justice in terms of civil rights, workers’ rights, voting rights, religious pluralism, school integration, and the needs of the poor and oppressed.

The property has been vacant for a while but it was most recently used as a parking lot (which can been seen in the Google Map) and before that, a used-car dealership.

To purchase a tree dedication or walkway stone, click here.

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