PALMETTO -- Officials representing the city of Palmetto and its Community Redevelopment Agency will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the park pavilion near the 17th Street West entrance.
A ground-breaking ceremony in January signaled the construction of the park's new walking trail and Wednesday's ceremony will celebrate the trail's official opening.
The park also features a lake with a fountain and pavilion featuring the image of the late Dr. King, as well as decorative lighting and King's message of peace. It is funded through the city, CRA and $250,000 in grants from the Southwest Florida Water Management District as well as grants from the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Organization and initial assessment studies funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant praised the CRA for its efforts to promote a strong redevelopment "that includes environmental stewardship. Our LID strategies give the Manatee River a more sustainable future as we remove pollutants from our storm water," read a prepared statement.
CRA Director Jeff Burton said the park is now a centerpiece for the Ward 1 community.
"Over the past five years, the CRA has invested more than $5 million into the community," said Burton. "Previous projects included the Ward 1 Phase II street and sidewalk improvements, the annual Multicultural Event and residential rehabilitation grants. The CRA plans more projects in the future.
The public is invited to attend Wednesday's celebration.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter@urbanmark2014.